A question I can ask about almost anything, and if the answer isn’t positive, why am I working so hard to continue?
Okay, Seriously, How is it serving YOU?
This question can come off as self-centered and arrogant, especially when someone is asking you to help them with something! Phew!! Can you imagine?! If you asked a friend to help you and they responded with, “Okay, and how does helping you serve me?” What emotions would you feel? Shock, anger, frustration?
As the queen of turning things on their head, I’ve chosen to begin asking this question. Regularly.
A little background information for you.
I recently had some major life news that can and will change the way I move through my days. I’ll be a caretaker for someone who, while currently able and “with it,” will eventually not be so.
Adjusting to the news has been a rollercoaster in learning about myself. I find strength as I gain knowledge and insights into how things will progress. I find confidence in planning for how to move forward. I find TONS of emotions as I wade through the process of grief, loss, and the shift in expectations. I’m learning more about how my body deals with stress and the new avenues of self-care I’ll need to employ.
As I spoke with a friend who has walked the caregiving path, they asked me, “Ask yourself what’s in it for you.” At first, I thought they’d gone mad. I could see nothing in this experience that would benefit me. Things can be weighty, upsetting, stressful, and overwhelming. And then, as I trudged, struggled, and fought to navigate my thoughts and emotions, the answer came to me.
Do you know how this difficult road will serve me?
More self-awareness. An opportunity to evaluate friendships and let the draining ones go. A deeper understanding of what fills my cup and fuels me throughout my day. More confidence in allowing others to love me and, more importantly, loving myself.
That last one is deeper than it sounds, so it bears repeating. I am allowing others to love me and intentionally deepening my own love of self. Negative self-talk has no place here. It won’t help make things lighter; quite the opposite. And letting others love me means they can help. They’re outside. They may see something I need that I can’t because the trenches are so deep.
While I let some relationships go, I have an opportunity with the ones before me, especially my mom. This is an opportunity to stop and take the moments in. Find the joy in moments, create memories, reminisce, and be present in the gift that is NOW.
I’m a motivated and energetic person. I love to bring light and joy to everyone around me. I’m filled with hope and expectations for the amazing possibilities this world offers. Being a caregiver means this energy will be tested. And drained. And Re-filled. A constant ride whose end you simultaneously wait for and dread.
Mentally I may be exhausted, and crashing on the couch to zone out for a bit may be exactly what I need. However, allowing myself to do this without guilt and self-judgment will be a new frontier.
Letting go of the need to complete so many things each and every day will be an exercise in patience and self-love.
Big shifts are coming. Mountains to climb. Patience, understanding, and compassion will be pouring out of my heart and soul. Magically, this means I need to be pouring the exact same things INTO my soul.
I preach the importance of self-acceptance, self-love, and self-care, and I work to live and practice what I preach. This is an opportunity to live it even more deeply. And while I live it I plan to, more frequently ask, “How will this serve me?”
When we struggle in life and have mountains to climb, asking this question can be a lifesaver. If you can’t find a positive way the request will help you, then is it worth the mental, physical, or emotional cost?
Asking, “How will this serve me?” can help you manage your own energy and ability to walk through life. You may be surprised at the answers, just as I was. There are beautiful lessons to be learned, and they will help you as you continue navigating this ride we call life.