Long ago, when my 23-year old was very young, I read a book about the pressure of our current culture on being a "good mother" and how, trying to live up to impossible standards and not honoring yourself, actually makes you a bad mother. I had to learn to put myself first, some of the time; otherwise, I absolutely could not provide good parenting for my son. It was, and still is, a difficult balance to maintain and I feel frustrated, sad, and angry about the pressure I feel from within to not focus on myself because it is "selfish". I don't think that's what God intends for us.
I have health issues that must be addressed. I am 40 pounds overweight, have borderline-high blood pressure. I suffer from uncomfortable bloating on a regular basis. My ankles swell. I have 2 types of skin cancer (the "better" 2 of the 4 types). I feel uncomfortable in my own body. And not ttractive, which makes me grumpy. I am tired ALL THE TIME. I get sick often. I am embarassed to see photos of myself because I think "That's not me!" "That CAN'T be me!
One of the most intersting ones, is that of celebrating my successes. I have always pushed myself to do better. No matter what I achieve, I barely pause to acknowledge that accomplishment because I am very focused on what I plan to do NEXT. Learning to stop and really, truly celebrate each victory has been oddly painful. It hurt, at first, to feel the feelings of celebrating a success. Because it was impossible to ignore that I have lived for 51 years WITHOUT doing so. I see how unapproving I have been toward myself. How unkind. How terribly judgemental. The opposite of what Jesus asks me to be. I judge myself harshly. I judge others harshly. What is the opposite of judging? I think it's approving. Regardless of whatever imperfections you see...approving. Or is it accepting? Or a mix of the two? So now I celebrate my little successes and when I forget, as often happens when creating a new habit, Marnie gently and firmly reminds me to do it. In fact, she tells me to stop and do it RIGHT NOW. And then she waits while I do it. And a tiny miracle happens. I feel better. I feel happy. I feel hope. And I want to do MORE of whatever it is that brings those feelings.