I wanted to share a story with you this week that, I believe, will resonate with many of you.
I was working with a client this week who is 310 lbs and on 14 medications at age 49 (he started on 15 meds but we were able to get him off one by cleaning up his gut and diet). He is diabetic, has high blood pressure and is at high risk for a heart attack. And although he does a great job with taking all of his supplements and medications, he has a harder time cooking for himself and eating and exercising regularly.
But what he has the hardest time doing is stepping away from his busy job to take a vacation. We've talked about this for awhile but weren't making much progress in this arena.
So this morning I looked at him and said, "You know that nobody is going to give you permission to take care of yourself or take vacations from work. That's a job that's yours for the taking because only you can apply for the position." He took a paused and asked, "But how do you give yourself permission when you’re used to not used to asking for it? Or ever putting yourself first?"
Great question, right?
I told him, "Because being a martyr and absorbing all this stress is costing you BIG. It's costing you your health, your happiness, and your joy in life. Your joints ache, you don't sleep, and you're struggling to lose weight. So when you make the choice to love on yourself--and that joy outweighs the desire to put everyone else first--then you will start the path of healing."
His story may be slightly different than yours, but at the end of the day, many of us struggle to put ourselves first. Maybe we're not wired that way. Or we used to put ourselves first, but then our families took top priority as we've gone through life. I get it--things change and having all that you want in life can also bring more demands. With great power comes great responsibility ;-).
But here's the thing: the decision to say no to other people is imperative in saying yes to yourself.
You can't out-supplement or out-diet stress; managing it is a choice you must make every day. All of us have the power and resources to decide what's truly important in our lives. I have many people in my life who get up at 4 or 5 in the morning to work out and meditate; others have long commutes but make sure they work out after the kids are asleep. You make it work when you really want it because living where you are just isn't cutting it.
I'm not saying it's easy or an overnight process, but it gets easier in time and with practice can indeed become your new normal--especially when you stop waiting for anyone to give you permission to move forth. And isn't that what life is about--learning to create amazing, uplifting things in your life that are super important to you? It doesn't come naturally to many of us, but we have to step into that role for ourselves or we will continue to suffer for a long time.
Will you take the job or not?