I am just back from an annual doctors visit and my doctor was talking about the hub-bub we've all learned to live with and a pace that's literally killing some of us. I smiled and told her I don't do that stuff anymore. She said "Well...what do you then?" and I told her "I 've learned to say No." She looked at me stricken and incredulous. "But how?".... and I told her.
I explained I used to think the world would stop spinning if I said No. The sun wouldn't come up, it would never rain again or if it did, it would rain for forty days and forty nights, and then I'd get blamed for it on the news. But, I finally decided to just grow up and say No when it was something I knew I did not want to do. If I was going to be mad at myself later, if I caved in, that right there was reason enough to say NO. No one would die from me saying NO because, frankly, I'm just not that powerful. I am not the only person on the planet, and if I continue to step in and rescue other people by doing something for them they are capable of doing for themselves, or making someone else happy at the expense of myself, I have no one to blame but myself.
I told her not to take care of "me" was a lousy way to treat myself, and the body God entrusted me with. Let's face it....I pay the price of the decisions I make so it's encumbunt upon me to make sure the ones I make are healthy--not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Nobody can do it for me. It's an inside job.
I told her to be prepared because people won't like it at first, they'll say you're being selfish, yada, yada, yada. You aren't. You are practicing self care. If you are taking care of "you", then they have to take care of themselves, and now we are down to the heart of the matter. People just want what they want--never mind about you, or how you feel. Remember, when your neck and shoulders are knotted up from pleasing everyone else, they don't feel the pain--you do.
As my doctor hugged me goodbye she said " Looks like I have to grow up" and we both snorted with laughter.