Remember That Good Is Enough blog by Rebecca Riley
For many years, I was continually disappointed in myself for not doing enough. It was a battle of thoughts and feelings between what has to be done and what I wanted to be done as a mother, sometimes a partner, and as a woman deep into her professional career.
Thinking of myself was not on the list of lists that explained my very complex life. I believed “me time” was an impossible task because it required I “make time”, had a little extra money to do so, or had friends and family to witness this cosmic event with me called a “girls night out.”
Doing something for myself seemed more like a bucket list item rather than an expectation. My response to the possibility became a confirmed and resentful “I wish I had time.”
Like I mentioned, this went on for years. I became a young mother at the age of 20. I was in college and working. As I started moving through life I began working in early childhood right out of college and life went fast. I loved and unloved. Moved from place to place in search of my own living space. My career grew and my life changed many times.
At some point I got fed up. Maybe I exploded, or imploded? I was at that sinking feeling, where you know something is missing in your life that no one can create for you. I cried, I got angry, I was sad, I felt all sorts of feelings I could feel. It was a horrible feeling. But something happened, my personal lens changed.
As I developed in my own profession I was introduced to the practice of Reflective Supervision. Reflective Supervision in a nutshell is where an individual is asked to take a step back in their work with others and is asked a series of questions from another individual about the particular situation being discussed. It is unlike therapy where perhaps the individual is presented the meaning of the situation and rather the individual presents the meaning to themselves. Through questions, the individual is reflecting during this time, becoming an observer of their own situation. Much like replaying a video and freezing certain parts you want to notice about it. It is a process over time that takes time.
I started using this approach and process in my own personal life. Taking time to just reflect more deeply on any experiences I had. Mind you, I wasn’t sitting after every situation and contemplating the meaning of life and coming to an epiphany. That would have been a large amount of time wasted. No, I simply would do quick “self-checks.” And it was during these quick “self-checks” I asked myself, was it enough?
Now enough means something different for different people. Some of us have higher expectations and some of us not so high depending on what that experience it is. However, in regards to doing things for myself, “enough” wasn’t even happening. What I learned was my expectations were too high which set me up for continual disappointment and therefore, I didn’t do anything at all. My “enough” for myself wasn’t realistic and didn’t happen. I realized in order to change this I had to start small.
What I learned was small is good, and good is enough. I wanted to do more for myself, but I wasn’t making it a part of my daily life to begin with. I learned over time to really be ok with more and more small moments for myself in my life because it was enough for that time. For instance, I make my morning drives a time to listen to news on the radio or music I enjoy. It’s my 30 minutes to enjoy something for me that is enough. If it’s time to buy soap I save a few extra dollars and buy the special one I really like so that my showers are a little less mundane, and that’s enough. My feet have a tendency to be cold all the time, so I enjoy buying a warm pair of socks when I can, and that’s enough.
I know it’s not the same as going to a concert, or spa, or having a new outfit, but it is enough for the time and that’s ok. I’ve learned to remember to think of myself everyday through these small instances of self-care because I know that in order for the other things in my life to be taken care of like children, my partner, or my career, I have to take care of myself first. It’s so easily forgotten because amongst the things we know that have to get done, we don’t take time to reflect and self-check. So if anything, remember to take care of yourself, take literally 1 minute to love yourself. Do a little self-care and play a favorite song, take a walk around the block, or rub your feet with oil. It doesn’t have to be a planned event in time but can happen today, and that’s enough, and that’s ok.