October 19, 2020
It’s a contemporary catch-phrase we see plastered across social media platforms these days.
But what does it actually mean?
I’ll answer this question by sharing a story.
The year was 2012 and for all intents and purposes, my life was fabulous. I lived in Southern California, enjoyed a fruitful career in academia, traveled around the globe sharing my passion, and felt upheld with love from family and friends.
As a newly minted licensed psychologist for 3 years and mental health professional for over 15 years, I knew what showing up for others looked like.
It was serving children and families in homes, schools, and hospital settings. Working long hours each day, well over the traditional 40 hours/week.
It was answering phone calls after hours to ensure teens’ safety. Writing report after lengthy report after arduous report within tight deadlines.
It was leaving it all on the court at the end of each day.
Translation, it was self-sacrifice at its highest level. Addressing other’s needs above my own. Ignoring my hurt, my struggles, in order to render aid to hurting souls.
And it was glorious. Beautiful. Applauded. Exhausting.
In what seems the ultimate irony, ‘service over self’ became my mantra, partly due to my faith and partly due to my upbringing. My Christianity supported the idea of serving my fellow man, without much mention of me. Reared in a household with two military parents, I felt most comfortable in the doing, which typically involved others.
On the contrary, my thoughts centered on what I needed to do for others. What I thought I needed to do for others. How other’s needs might be met.
When I did think of me, I often found myself circling around to feelings of guilt and selfishness. My life is wonderful, I thought. I don’t have room to complain or focus on me.
Grief smacked me in the face, forcing a shift in my emotional, physical, and spiritual self. It served as a wake up call and shook me – over the course of several years – to the reality that I hadn’t fully shown up for myself in decades, if ever.
Therein lied the opportunity, not by my choosing, to live life differently.
If you can’t think of anything at the moment, it’s OK. I couldn’t answer this question either in 2012. Take a moment today to stop and reflect.
It may be making space – if only minutes throughout each day – to sit with yourself. It might be taking a lazy stroll around your neighborhood or spending time in meditation.
How might you begin the process of showing up for yourself today?
I’d love to hear what you discover in your reflection.
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If you’re interested in learning more about managing your lifestyle, love, leadership, and loyalties to God, self, and others, click here: https://mekelharrisphd.com/.