back at the beginning of january i shared with you guys a new series i’m doing on the blog called simply serve. a group of bloggers, including myself, are coming together to bring you some stories of how we’re serving in our communities and giving back.
i have to admit that when i found out the first theme of the year was “serve yourself” i had mixed feelings. my first reaction was, “well this is going to sound selfish! serve myself? ooookay.” as women we’re told over and over by society that we need to give to OTHERS always and forget ourselves. giving of ourselves is extremely important, but i also feel so strongly that part of being your best self, as a wife or mother or a friend or a daughter or a sister, you have to figure out how to take care of yourself too. how to love yourself and most importantly how to BE NICE to you.
i’m a recovering people-pleasing codependent. i’ve spent much of my life centering my decisions on what others will think and gaining approval of those around me. a few years ago i read the book codependent no more and i am not exaggerating even the slightest when i say it changed my life. if this statement resonates with you, i highly recommend that you read it too:
“as codependents, we frequently dislike ourselves so much that we believe it’s wrong to take ourselves into account, in other words, appear selfish. putting ourselves first is out of the question. often we think we’re only worth something if we do things for others or caretake, so we never say no. anyone as insignificant as us must go an extra mile to be liked. no one in their right minds could like and enjoy being with us. we think we have to do something for people to get and keep their friendships.”
i’ve spent years of my life feeling this way, like it’s wrong to think of myself and that if only i’d do more for others then maybe i’d be worthy of being loved. i’ve pushed my needs to the side to focus on others, give more, love more, and if i would just do more for everyone else around me then i would somehow find acceptance from them and in turn for myself.
guess what. it doesn’t work! if you can’t find love and acceptance for yourself, from YOU and not from anyone else’s approval, no amount of good-doing is going to be good enough.
i feel like this lesson is something i had to work extremely hard at to find peace, love and acceptance for myself from only ME. not from my boyfriends, parents, friends, spouse, whatever. it has to come from me. and that’s why i actually love this month’s theme of serve yourself.
if that quotation from codependent no more was a little heavy and depressing for you, don’t worry. there’s a light at the end of that codependent tunnel.
here’s another excerpt from the book:
“we must stop now. right now, we can give ourselves a big emotional and mental hug. we are okay. it’s wonderful to be who we are. our thoughts are okay. our feelings are appropriate. we’re right where we’re supposed to be today, this moment. there is nothing wrong with us…we can cherish ourselves and our lives. we can nurture ourselves and love ourselves. we can accept our wonderful selves, with all our faults, foibles, strong points, weak points, feelings, thoughts, and everything else. it’s the best thing we’ve got going for us. it’s who we are, and who we were meant to be. and it’s not a mistake. we are the greatest thing that will ever happen to us. believe it. it will make life much easier.”
so for this month’s serve yourself theme, i decided to do something drastic. i took the advice of two friends who are experts in the beauty industry – cara from maskcara and michelle money from the mm&l show – and decided to cut half my hair off.
that hair was like dead weight to me. it held years of good and bad times, but lots and lots of baggage. baggage from bad relationships, my former marriage, years of second guessing myself and not believing i was enough. years of feeling like if only i was good enough for someone else i’d be good enough to accept myself too.
that hair had been damaged and it was time to cut it off and leave my past behind. if this is sounding all-too dramatic, maybe it is to you. but it was real to me. a fresh start was just what i needed. not just a fun new look, but literally a new start. michelle did a beautiful job and i’m so glad i entrusted her with my hair and my big change.
was i nervous? actually no. i was so ready. so excited. totally embracing something new. i knew it was time.
here’s the before and after:
and here’s a picture of the day after my haircut. no hair-cutter’s remorse. no regrets.
if you haven’t already, do something nice for yourself this month. go cut your hair if it’s 5 feet too long like mine was, get a pedicure, go to target by yourself (without kids! yes!), have a long talk with an old friend while you “should” be doing laundry, and if you’re struggling to feel like you’re enough, start treating yourself the way you treat the people you love and admire most. you deserve love as much as they do, too.
to read about what my friends have done to serve themselves this month, go to their blogs:
be nice to you.