This week I received the most amazing package in the mail. It was a custom mixed box of my favorite chocolates. The card read: “You are brave and beautiful. You deserve this. Love, Me”
The mix of chocolates was perfect. All of my favorite kinds were included. Each piece had been chosen with me in mind and just opening the lid filled me with so much joy. The timing was also perfect. The sender knew that I’d been going through a hard time and that I needed a lift at just this moment.
For the vast majority of my life I thought love meant going without. I thought by putting myself last I was showing my family how very much I loved them (sound familiar, mommies?). Receiving felt awkward and wrong and I wasn’t very good at it.
I was much better at giving, and so I gave and gave and gave until I withered on my vine and became too tired to bear any fruit. It was only after I crashed that I attempted to try and find the balance between giving and receiving. And, let me tell you, it is hard.
Women tend to be nurturers and givers, so when I was giving all of myself it felt right. “If only,” I would say to myself. “If only I had a little more energy, then I could give even more.” The desire to serve no matter the cost to myself still lay deep within my heart.
Then, for a while the pendulum swung the other way and I said no to everything. I was so exhausted that there didn’t seem to be any other choice. But, that didn’t feel right either. Finding the balance seemed like an impossible task.
Like any huge undertaking, I needed to break it into smaller pieces. I had to work on not feeling quite so guilty when I said no to something. I needed to prioritize what was important to me and what wasn’t (harder than it sounds because everything felt important). And, I really needed to work on my receiving skills. Giving without receiving meant that I never got fed, but letting someone else give to me was incredibly difficult.
I have worked hard to try and find some sort of happy medium. I still want to say yes to everyone. I still want to do it all. But, I am older now and I struggle with health issues. It has taken both of these things for God to get my attention. I have finally slowed down my giving only because I don’t have any other choice.
The receiving part is still a work in progress. People’s gifts to me touch my heart and make me cry with joy, but there is also that tiny voice that says, “You don’t deserve this.”
That’s why this gift of chocolates meant so much to me, and why they were the perfect mix, and why the card said exactly what I needed to hear. For you see, I sent them to myself.
And, I’m feeling pretty good about that. Instead of waiting for someone to notice how very much I needed a pick-me-up, I gave it to myself. Maybe I am learning the balance between giving and receiving after all.
So, Precious Mommies, take a page from my book and learn through my mistakes. Treat yourselves well, speak kindly to yourself, and remember that a box of chocolates always helps.