Giving to Others, Giving to Yourself

Where can I find an hour a day?
To turn away from duty,
to release that energy
into something creative for myself
is like being tossed into a washing machine.

Can I really believe
I am worth an hour a day?
Am I, who have given my life to others,
selfish enough to take one hour a day
to find myself?

—Marion Woodman

 

Do you believe you’re worth an hour a day of your time and attention?

We are the ultimate deciders of how we spend our time and where we place our attention, which makes this question even more powerful than the question of how to find an hour a day.

Of course, we need to take care of responsibilities like parenting or work outside the home. But even the busiest among us have time to devote to ourselves.

If you’re doubtful that you have time to give to yourself, ask yourself when was the last time you got sucked down a rabbit hole on social media, played a video game a bit too long over many consecutive days, or were otherwise engaged in activities that not only didn’t add value to your life, but were actually harmful?

Even if you only spent 20 minutes a day engaged in one of these distracting or numbing activities, that means you have at least 20 minutes a day to give to you.

There are many reasons we don’t give ourselves time, including Woodman’s description of feeling as though she’s been “tossed into a washing machine.”

The most common reasons reasons we struggle to take time to find ourselves are:

  • Fear of what we might discover about ourselves, our relationships, or our life.
  • Fear that if we withdraw our attention, time, or availability to another person something “bad” might happen. We may believe that we will lose our worth or value to the people we have over-extended ourselves for in the past if we take time for ourselves.
  • Not knowing what to do that would feel pleasurable or self-nurturing.
  • Not having the tools for knowing how to find ourselves.

It takes vulnerability and courage to go inside to find yourself.

If you don’t take this time for you, what is the cost to you — your emotions, your health, or your relationships?

How does not taking time for you impact the ways in which you want to show up for the people you love or the people you serve through you work?

The most impactful you is the most filled-up and resourced you.

One of the most poignant lines of this reflection is, “Am I, who have given my life to others. . . .”

If you resonate with giving your life to others, how does this truth comfortably exist side-by-side with your challenges around taking time for you? This is a stark question that invites rigorous self-honesty.

Many of us learned the lesson of giving our lives to others at a very young age. It’s a hard habit to break.

What we most often did not receive were instructions for how to go inside. How to tune in to our body and mind to explore and discover our own authentic truth.

When you get in touch with the truth that you weren’t taught how to attune to yourself, you may be filled with rage and grief.

What are the conditions, thoughts, and actions that will allow you to stand for you — taking time to discover you?

Maybe not an entire hour, but just 5 minutes to start. What would make it easier, more appealing, and less frightening?

If you’re wondering how you might spend an hour a day with you, you can find a list of ideas in my article, An Hour a Day for Your Body

 

Invitations for reflection, exploration, and action:

  • Make a list of at least 3-5 activities you engage in (or would like to engage in) that represent giving time to yourself.
  • What activities support you to explore and discover your authentic truth?
  • In what ways are you spending time now that would be better focused on giving to yourself in the form of high-quality self-care and self-nurturing?
  • What one action are you committed to taking to replace at least one low-value activity for the high-value activity of taking time to find yourself and release your creative energy?

 


© Vicki Tidwell Palmer (2021)

Coming Home to Myself: Reflections for Nurturing a Woman’s Body and Soul (©1998)
By Marion Woodman and Jill Mellick
(Reprinted with permission)

*This post is from the Coming Home to You Series. Visit this page for the backstory of the CHTY Series.

 

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The deepest experience of the creator is feminine, for it is experience of receiving and bearing.”

Rainer Maria Rilke