Okay, so I was reading a book by one of my favorite people, Cheryl Richardson, called The Art of Extreme Self Care. Great book. I highly recommend it. I was reading the acknowledgments at the back of the book, looking for names I am familiar with and what she thanked these many people for. There was a long list. It was obvious that the list started with those people farthest from her 'home nucleus', if you will, and ended with those closest to her heart and most influential. It got me to thinking... who would be on my list?
Cheryl's list was obviously people she knew she could count on, depend on in a state of need. These were people she had accepted help from or allowed them to help her. This got me to thinking that at the top of my list, I would acknowledge me. And it's kind of funny to me that since her book is about extreme self care, that she didn't acknowledge herself. I mean, think about it, there can be (and probably are) a myriad of people in our lives who would be happy to help us, give to us, do for us, but if I am not willing to ask for that help and receive it then it does me no good at all. For many of us, myself included, it is no small feat to ask for and then receive help. In fact, it occurred to me that with the person I present, most of my people probably don't even know when I am in need.
I present a person who is confident, strong, competent, wise, and efficient at what I do. The person I present doesn't need help. To ask for help and receive it means I put myself in a vulnerable place. As I walked, I asked myself, "Who do I depend on? Who do I call when I am in need? Who do I call when I feel vulnerable and need someone to lean on, to see me, really see me?" I came up with three people. 2 women and my husband.
Now I gotta tell you, that really surprised me. I have dozens and dozens of wonderful women in my life. Women I have no doubt would be there for me. Women I could depend on. It's not them... it's me. I'm not saying 3 is a low number. I'm sure there are many people who would love to know they had three people they can count on. What I'm saying is that it was an opportunity to take a look at myself. And what I found in that examination was that I build an invisible wall of "I can do it all by myself". What I found was there is a part of me that is afraid to allow others to see me as vulnerable, as needy, and it has a profound impact on my life. I looked in that mirror and saw a woman who talks to other women about asking for and receiving help, but doesn't see the need to examine that within her own life.
Right then and there I decided to make some changes. I didn't yet know what they were, but I knew I had a new willingness. That was 4 days ago. Since then, I have talked with two of those people I depend on. I got some excellent feedback, and I have taken action. It is clear my own work at present is about honing my skills around setting boundaries... setting boundaries around my personal time and space. It is about saying yes when I mean yes, and no when I mean no. It is ultimately about giving to myself to build up a reserve of energy and nurture. It may be difficult for you reading this to see the connect right now, but it's crystal clear to me. And I'll write more on that later. :-)