On a recent visit to my parents’ house, I was astonished to find my mom twenty or so pounds lighter, with glowing skin, and a newly found enthusiasm for her well-being and health. My mom has always been interested in well-being, alternative medicine and yoga but was never fully able to embrace any of these concepts as she was too busy being a mom – putting her children and our needs ahead of her own.
My mom’s newfound intention to stay healthy in her early sixties left me feeling proud and inspired but most importantly deeply grateful for her taking care of herself. I am certain that many of you can relate to this desire to see our parents, partners and friends in good health, happy and grateful for life’s wonders. Consciously or not, we all want our loved ones to love themselves … before even loving us.
As women, we tend to and are programed to prioritize everyone else’s well-being before ours. As wonderful of a trait that this is, however, it leads to us being exhausted, irritable and often times feeling incomplete and misunderstood. As loving and as nurturing a woman can be, if she is irritable and unhappy, all of this will have an affect and will leave a lasting impression on the subjects of her love and devotion.
What each and every one of us can and should do is to establish what makes us feel healthy, happy and complete in the first place and then actually do something about it.
Gisele Bündchen was recently widely criticized for acknowledging that she puts herself first which she believes makes her a better mother and a wife. "You can feel a bit guilty," Gisele said. "But if I'm feeling fulfilled and present and good about myself, then I'm going to be a much more patient, loving, understanding mother and wife. You have to fill your glass so that everyone can drink from it. That's how I feel."
How you fill your own glass is entirely up to you and there is no set formula – you and only you know what makes you feel happy, healthy and complete. Take time to yourself to establish if you need to begin a physical or spiritual practice, pick up a craft, walk, exercise or just steal half an hour to be with yourself.
For me, my morning yoga and meditation practice has proven to do wonders – I am no longer the victim of bad posture that resulted in lower self-esteem, I am no longer complaining about little pains here and there, I am learning to be present, appreciative and loving – the exact qualities that I want to see in the people that I love. Establish what small changes you can make and practices you can initiate. Start small and build up your own private joinery to a happier and a more fulfilled you.