To thine own self

For years and years I pushed my own needs and desires to the background in order to survive in this world.

If others think I’m ok, I’m ok was the unspoken mantra of my life and so I’d peddle, push, placate by following what I thought others needed me to be for them.

Often pushing myself over the edge and having bi-annual breakdowns where I’d cry for hours, releasing the tension and pressure of putting my needs to the back of the line.

And then I’d stick a smile back on my face and revert back to this pattern.

There’d be times where I’d get some counselling and feel a freedom as I allowed myself to surface my needs and desires.

And slowly I started to change my way of living, acknowledging my own needs and allowing myself to be a priority in my life.

I stretched, through relationships, into new territory.

Learning I didn’t need to be thin, pretty, demure to be loved. Learning I could voice my needs to my partner and I deserved to have a say in what was going on.

But I feel stuck at the moment.

I really don’t have a clue about how I can be true to myself – my needs, my desires, my introverted nature – where I am.

The nature of life at the moment is stretched and it doesn’t show signs of letting up.

I feel like something has to give.

Work is great, but full on.

Motherhood is a journey that I’m privileged to experience, but comes at a great price and requires constant patience, a tempered nature that isn’t naturally easy.

I am growing, expanding and stretching developmentally and spiritually, but it takes energy and focus. 

My partner has different needs to me, with each of us on opposite sides of intra-extroversion and it feels like we’re running in a different direction to each other at the moment. Needing different things from each other.

It feels like my life is a jigsaw puzzle, one which isn’t fitting together at the moment.

And I asked myself this morning whether it is possible to be true to myself in all this – to prioritise myself while still keeping the world spinning.

And the phrase ‘to thine own self be true’ came to mind.

So I turned to Shakespeare to see what ‘to thine own self be true’ actually means. What was he talking about?

I learnt there are several interpretations – firstly, it could be a call to do ‘the right thing’ (whatever this means). It could also mean that you should be honest in your actions. Finally, it could be advice to put yourself first.

So the literary father isn’t as clear in his directions as I first thought…and I’m just as lost as I was before about what I should do.

One thing is sure though, my puzzle pieces of life aren’t fitting together and I need to do something about it.

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Questioning

I’ve now been back at work for two weeks and as I’m sat in the car on the way to a family day out I’m reflecting about how much motherhood has changed me. I feel like everything has been thrown up in the air and I’m left questioning the fundamentals in my life.

Who am I?

What do I want to do with the time I have on this Earth?

What is my greater purpose?

It feels like I’ve been upturned or my world has been flipped upside down. I just don’t know anything anymore.

Well, that’s not true. I know that I love my family more than I’ve ever loved anything else. I know that I want Jenson to come first at this time in life. I know that I need to express this uncertainty instead of keeping it hidden inside me like a secret. And I know that it’s ok to not have everything sorted, all the questions answered.

So I know a lot.

And instead of jumping into finding my purpose – studying something new to change career, change the colour of my hair to feel different or strike into action, I find myself being called to listen in stillness. I’m drawn to paying attention to what I’m noticing, I find myself wanting to slow down. It’s different to what I’ve usually done and I’m willing to give it a go.

So here I go on this new adventure into who I am and what I’m called to in life. Thank you for being here for me, friend, as I express what’s going on for me. It may be a journey I take along, but one that feels less lonely with you by my side.