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I Woke Up Empty....

So. Life is lifing, as the kids say, and we don't always know how to put the impact that it leaves on us into words. I woke up empty last Saturday and it took me a minute to be able to identify and articulate that. It had been an extremely long week for me, including a heavy work week, after hours theater rehearsals for my youngest daughter, still trying to figure out health concerns, and finishing up the draft of a major paper for my Doctoral program. I was so spent that I could hardly think straight. Then the weekend finally arrived. The only issue was that I was also jam packed with things for the weekend. On top of the anticipated nonstop weekend activities, that Sunday was my father's 9th birthday in Heaven.

I went to bed at a reasonable time on Friday night, with the intentions of getting enough rest to hit the ground running on Saturday, since I had an event to attend first thing. When I opened my eyes, I didn't feel like me. My body and my mind felt heavy. I felt on the verge of tears fresh out of my slumber. My mood was numb. I just felt off. I struggled for a bit with figuring out what was going on. Finally, it hit me.....I woke up empty. Whether it was the upcoming anniversary, chronic stress, or just having given all I could for the week, I did not have it to give. And I had to be honest with myself about that.

If you are anything like me, you likely find it very hard to give yourself grace and compassion when it requires you to not be perfect or requires you to admit that you can't uphold your end of a bargain. I went back and forth with myself about cancelling all plans and holding space for me or showing up empty to pretend that everything is fine and teach others about self-care. What a juicy contradiction, right? I mean how can I, the self-care sunflower, teach anyone about self-care and still have conflict about my own self-care?!

Well, truth is, I do it all the time. Self-care and self-compassion are practices that require self-awareness, a ton of grace and actively choosing you, even when it means you may have to let someone else down. Even as someone who knows and preaches the benefit of self-care and ways to overcome the barriers to it, it plays on my internal space to put my needs first in certain situations. So, if you struggle with self-compassion, just know that you are not alone.

I chose me on that day. I chose me for the rest of that weekend. Until I felt close to myself again, I chose to put up the "closed for business" sign. I didn't give anything to anyone or anything else, until I was able to replenish. Because I woke up empty. We don't have to be totally run down or incapacitated to own the fact that we just don't have it to give. It is enough to feel what we feel and set the boundary with ourselves to stop pretending that we do.

So, I sat. I sat, I slept, I ate some, I drank my water, I felt my feelings and thought my thoughts. And you know what. I felt better. I felt closer to myself. And in turn, I had more to give to my kids and all the other commitments that were still waiting for me when I got back up. I was able to make it through my dad's birthday and even had a mini celebration for him with my little one.

We have a right to give ourselves grace and compassion. We have a right to be self-aware and honest about what we need. We have a right to put what we feel into words so that we can more fully decide how to address it. We have a right to give ourselves what we need! Stop allowing society to determine how you have to show up in order to be considered a good mom, partner, employee, woman, or person. At the end of the day, none of it matters if you aren't here because a physical or mental health breakdown takes you out of here. You are human....not superhuman. So, take off that unsolicited cape and sit down!! Give yourself the same advise that you would give your sister or daughter or best friend if they came to you and said they woke up empty. Give yourself the same grace and compassion that you would give literally anyone else in this world. Take the time to get back to you and refill your cup. Just remember, what's in the cup is for you...what's outside of the cup is for everyone else. Self-care, self-compassion, and grace will keep you in the overflow. Only give from the overflow. And if you find yourself empty, close the shop!

Light and Love.....

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