I love this quote by Jim Rohn. Packaged in a picture with Calvin and Hobbes, it’s kind of perfect.
Why does this quote mean so much to me?
Because personally, I feel like this is the definition of True Love.
Whoa, that’s kinda heavy for a Friday.
True love is not a Disney prince who defeats dragons for you and whisks you off to a castle in the sunset distance. True love is not someone else figuring out your problems for you. True love is not being rescued.
True love is this quote.
I will take care of me for you.
In nearly every situation where something in your life needs to change or get better, it will be said that you need to “do it for yourself” in order for it to stick. Yes, this is true-ish. That’s the first step.
But it won’t stick if that’s it. You do it for yourself and then—
Nope, not gonna work out for you in the long run.
It’s got to be for you AND _______.
Why? Because it’s far too easy to let ourselves down.
I’m the only one who knows I didn’t do my exercise program today, what does it matter?
Sure, eating simple sugars (like cupcakes— sweet, sweet cupcakes) makes my blood sugar wonky and I end up cranky, but I’m the only one hurting then, right?
I forgot to take my medicine, again. Not a big deal if I can’t get off the couch today-I’ll just write the day off as a loss. No big deal.
We don’t live in a vacuum where our actions (or lack there of) only affect ourselves.
Now, just to be clear, I am not only talking about significant others (though this was how the quote was intended). You might take care of yourself for your children, your parents, your dog; anyone who means something to you.
I will take care of me for you…
This means that I will do whatever I need to, in order to be able to bring my best self to the table. I will do everything in my power to show up, be there, and take part, whatever that means for us.
The way I take care of myself is this: I pay attention to my Chronic Illness. I investigate new treatment options, go to my doctor’s appointments, and follow their suggestions. I take my medications. I exercise. I shower. I keep myself hydrated and my blood sugar stable. I also do things that make me happy and reduce stress, like sewing superhero-themed elephants and practicing my deep breathing techniques.
I do all of this so that I can say yes.
Yes, I can look over that cover letter with you, Sissy.
Yes, I’d love to go on your errands with you, Mom.
Yes, Suki, it’s time to go for a walk now.
Sometimes “taking care of me” means saying No.
No, I don’t feel up to going out today.
No, I’m not able to look up that information right now.
No, I think I’ll go to bed now instead of staying up.
Each time we choose to “take care of me for you”, what we are really saying is this:
I love you.
Personally, I think it is easier to say “I’ll take care of you.” It’s easy to see someone else, and think that because we are on the outside, we know what they need and how to give it to them.
It’s 10 times harder to say “I’ll take care of me for you.” It’s hard to think that our own self needs work. It’s hard to do that work ourselves, without asking someone to help (i.e. do it for you) or making it someone else’s responsibility altogether.
We want Disney princes.
We want Suzy Housewives.
Please don’t get me wrong. There are occasions where we need the care of others, and “I’ll take care of you” becomes supremely important.
However, I feel like on a day-to-day basis, I’ll take care of me for you means more.
Someday, I hope to fall in love.
Someday, I hope that birds sing and rainbows appear suddenly in the sky, and Disney makes a personal call to turn our story into a movie.
I would love, love, love to hear someone tell me that they will take care of me.
But I would love it more if they said this.
My dream significant other feels the same personal responsibility that I do.
S.O. takes care of themselves for me, because they want to say Yes! to me as much as I want to say Yes! to them.
That says love to me.
That says commitment to me.
In the meantime, while I’m waiting around for the stars to align, I’m taking this principle seriously in other facets of my life.
As a Chronic, I am familiar with “I’ll take care of you.” There have been times when I desperately needed it. There have also been times where I didn’t need it quite so much but still let it happen because it was familiar and easy and made me feel good.
In my journey to Chronic Maturity, I’ve come to recognize there is a time when this can shift, when it must shift. Even with my recent heart-hiccups, I’m not in a stage where I need “I’ll take care of you.” I am learning every day how to take better care of myself. It is my greatest hope that when my family and friends see this, they don’t see it as a negative “She doesn’t need us anymore/in the same way,” but as a positive.
I am taking care of myself for you (all of you).
Because I love you, just that much.
And it is my greatest hope and deepest wish, that you all love me that much too. ❤
I hope you are taking care of yourself, Chronic reader, for yourself AND for someone else. Want to talk about it? Leave me a comment here or on my Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/iamchronicallywell