Yup, that’s me. Maura Chick. I’m outing myself as a hypocrite.
You see, all day I tell women to focus on themselves, make them a priority in their life, everyone is better when you feel good, etc. I could go on and on about all the things I tell women to do to take care of themselves.
“Do something just for you”
“It’s worth it”
“You need to invest in yourself”
Except I don’t. When it comes to myself, everyone is before me. My husband, my family, my business, my clients….there’s me. Dead last. Why do I do this? I sense it’s because I think if I give and give and give that I’ll feel good about myself, that I’ll feel like the struggle was worth it somehow. Or, maybe deep down it’s that I feel everyone is more important than me. The problem is that I give so much, there’s nothing left to give myself. I have no energy. I have no time. I have no strength to pull myself up out of bed when I finally decide to rest. It’s exhausting and it’s taking a toll on me.
If I can’t be good to myself, I can’t be any good to my clients. That’s the rough lesson I learned this year.
The other lesson – don’t be me!
For those of you that don’t know, I herniated a disc in my lower back in Setember of 2016. At the time, I didn’t know it was a herniated disc, just thought it was another bout with my back. I got better that time after steroids and chiropractic appointments. Fast forward to January 2017, I was dealing with immense nerve pain. Debilitating pain that would bring me to my knees, unable to sleep, unable to focus. I continued to shoot, I continued to do everything for my clients, I had a photo shoot the day after being in the ER to get pain meds, I shot the DAY I passed out twice at the doctors. I pushed myself to the limit, then I fell apart – all without my clients really knowing how bad it was. The pain became so intense that I was using a walker, unable to really take care of myself (God bless my husband). It was time for surgery. I put it off far to long.
I had to cancel shoots, re-schedule viewings, take 6 weeks off (WHAT!) for recovery. In my mind, I kept saying that I had so much more to give, I could still shoot, could push myself further to not let anyone down. But, I didn’t. I was on empty (E). I needed to fill up my tank.
There’s no where to go when you’re on E.
Sometimes we have a hard time seeing it. Sometimes we think that we can just give a little bit more. Sometimes we feel like we’ll be judged if we do something for ourselves. Sometimes we don’t realize how far gone we are until it’s too late. Sometimes we think the tears of exhaustion are joy. They aren’t. They are a sign to slow down, a sign to re-evaluate what you’re doing to yourself, a sign to step back and take care of what you’ve been putting off. Time to realize that you are just as important as everyone else in your life! I’m telling you to your sweet gorgeous face that YOU are just as important. You need the care and attention you shower onto others! We all do!
You see, self-care and self-love are VITAL to our survival. They’re vital to the survival of those around us. I realized that I have a lot of people that depend on me and I was fooling myself thinking I was giving them anything of value. No one wants a half-assed Maura! 🙂 Lets be honest, I was still doing everything in my power for my clients – they loved their sessions, their photos and products. But, I knew I needed to replenish. I pushed myself to the limits, and then the dam broke.
I’m here to tell you that you MUST take care of yourself, you MUST make yourself a priority in your life, you MUST realize the importance of your personal tank. No one can do that but you. NO ONE! You alone have the power to say that it’s time for you. It’s not selfish. It’s self preservation. No one has the right to judge you for how you live your life. You are doing what YOU decide is important for yourself and your family. Working out makes you feel better – GREAT, do it whenever you find time. Going out to eat makes you feel special – Fabulous, enjoy a meal with yourself. Getting massages and facials relaxes you, amazing – keep at it. Getting pedicures and manicures to indulge yourself – why not! Spending time alone with a cup of coffee is what you need, then by all means DO IT! We’re not sacrificing the needs in our life to do little things for ourselves, but relishing in these things makes us feel like an individual, it invigorates us to shower more love on others, and it empowers us to encourage others to do the same!
I’m no good to you, my dear clients, if I’m not good to myself.
There I said it. And I don’t want to just be “good” to you….I want to be GREAT, AMAZING AND WONDERFUL! I want to continue to able to give each and every client everything I have in me to give, but in order to do so, I have to make myself a priority and I have to set boundaries! This year has taught me a lot about the self love journey that I share with everyone. I will be an active participant in my journey and I will live by what I tell others to do.
For 2018, I vow to no longer be a hypocrite. I will practice what I preach. I will make myself a priority. I will say “NO” (all caps on purpose haha) to things that don’t align with what I want to do. I don’t want to get to E again.
In all the amazing business success for 2017, this is the hardest lesson I’ve learned personally. The importance of me! The importance of you too!
For 2018, I’m not letting my tank get lower than half full!
I’ll be sharing more about the awesome project I’m working on for 2018 in my private Facebook group! I have some amazing things planned for 2018 to help us all – books, journaling, meet and greets, etc. The group is open to all women – you can join my clicking the link below:
**Photo Credit: Miranda Parker | Boudoir