Years ago, shortly after my father unexpectedly passed away, I spent several months seeing a Psychologist. I was struggling with a personal problem, harassment at work, depression, and now grief.
I am, to this day, grateful for the experience. I learned so much about myself, all those onion-y peel-y layers of teen hood and my young adult life. I learned about some of the reasons I became self-sabotaging, self-destructive, self-loathing. I learned why I packed on the pounds and hid under all that weight. And I also learned, along the way, [this took me years!] how to let myself love me again. How to let others love me. I’m still not all that great at it but I’m better than I was at that point in time.
One of the things Dr. Cook taught me and worked so hard to get me to do was to nurture myself. We talked about the empty cup syndrome — how you can’t ever fill someone else’s cup unless you take time [and whatever it takes] to fill up your own cup first.
As women we are taught our whole lives [at least we were in my generation] to put others first. And let’s face it, we are great nurturers. We are great friends and mothers and sisters and daughters. But at a cost to ourselves. We feel guilt and embarrassment to admit when we spend too much time on ourselves. We’re viewed as selfish or conceited or self-absorbed or self-promoting when we primp or pamper or preen. I especially have had a hard time spending money on myself partially because I was raised in a family of nine children who saved every penny we could on sales, reduced-cost items, damaged items, etc. We sewed our own clothes, canned from our garden, and learned to not waste. We lived within our means. We were provident before provident was in!
Now I try to do a few little things for myself that I’ve never done before. I try to take time for lotion. Isn’t that silly? Isn’t that ridiculous that I’ve spent part of my life thinking, believing, I was not important enough, deserving enough, to spend time slathering wonderfully-smelling, soothing lotion into my dry, old skin.
And this past year I’ve been doing my nails. [Yah, those hands are 60 years old.]
I can’t begin to tell you how empowering and healing it is to spend two hours a week soaking, cleaning, filing, strengthening, polishing, buffing, and painting my nails.
They don’t last a whole week. I’m a custodian, so by Saturday they are in pretty dire straights. But every Sunday or Monday for the last couple of months I have looked so forward to this time to primp and pamper and preen and not give a hoot what anyone else says or thinks.
[Maybe someday I’ll work on the age spots!]