I am not very good at taking care of myself. That’s a hard sentence to type. I type it because I’m learning it means something different than what I always believed. Maybe I should say it this way: I’m not very good at self-care.
See in my mind I’ve always thought doing the things I have to do to keep my body alive are all I am responsible to myself for. I eat (as many meals as I can). I drink water (as often as I can). I keep myself clean. I keep myself up and running. Survival mode. I push to be sure my body survives as best it can to do what it has to do. That’s not caring for myself. That’s not caring for my mind or heart.
At some point I began to believe those things didn’t matter in the big scheme. What I really convinced myself into believing was that those places don’t matter as much as everything or everyone else.
How did I see this? How did I know it? How did I realize I let some of the most valuable parts of me lose their weight of worth? Flowers. It started with flowers.
I love fresh cut flowers. It could be because I grew up gardening. It could be because they are a vibrant splash of color and life on any countertop. It could be because of their fragrance. Whatever the reason, I love flowers. Anytime I have them, I smile when I see them. That’s important. They make me smile like they kindle or kick-start joy deep inside my chest.
I was standing in a Trader Joe’s a month ago looking at all the wonderful bouquets, and I was doing a good job of talking myself out of buying them. “I don’t need them. That’s $6.99 out of our budget I don’t need to spend. They will just have to be tossed out in a week. I don’t need them.”
This thinking nagged at me and that feeling stayed with me. Was it really about the money? Was it because I don’t make an actual income I felt like something just for me was a waste when I don’t contribute to the “bottom line?” I will note here that my husband has never treated me this way, but I didn’t realize until this moment that I had. He’s the person who encourages me to buy healthy options that are just for me so I can reach me goals of overall wellness. He’s the person who tells me over and over that I don’t have to earn anything because the person I am is worthy of everything.
Was it really about the money? For a stretch of our marriage I actually made more money than my husband did, and even then there were plenty of things I passed on that would have been just for my joy. It wasn’t really about that.
At the bottom of it all, it was my unwillingness to do something for myself outside the scope of just keeping my body running. It was staring at something that cost a measly $0.46 a day, if I bought them twice a month, and thinking I shouldn’t have that. It was about being unwilling to see where I was content to survive and unwilling to see that was different than thriving.
So often we cheat ourselves. We settle into whatever fills the gap instead of addressing what our hearts really ache for. I wanted to be worthy of flowers, and I didn’t see that ache in me or that I actually was.
So often I think we sit and wait for someone else to bring us flowers because then we know we’ve earned them. We wait for someone else to confirm our worth. We wait and wait because it’s easier than staring ourselves down and realizing that we don’t need others to do this for us. More than that, if we haven’t already done this for ourselves, we’ll never be able to really accept it when someone else does. We’ll have flowers in hand, questioning why someone would give them to us.
What does this mean? It’s time to go find your flowers. Find that thing, whatever it is, that puts that smile on your face. Find that thing that splashes the canvas of your life with color and beauty. Find that thing that gives your life the sweetest fragrance.
Don’t wait for it. It’s out there, and it can be as simple as a bouquet that you smell in between diaper changes and dishes. You are worthy of thriving. Go ahead. Buy the flowers.