This year has felt so exhausting, challenging, and frustrating. It has also been incredibly empowering, exciting, and full of so many blessings. I’ve invested in my mental health more with weekly counseling, listening to some great books, reading my Bible more, and being more vulnerable in my closest relationships.
I have learned A LOT about myself and how I want to live my life. I decided I want to LET GO of 3 major things that I have carried for years and believe will allow me to have a healthier future!
1. PUTTING MYSELF LAST.
We really normalize women (especially moms) putting themselves last, and they suffer greatly because of this.
Many times it even enables others to put us last which in return results in feeling unfulfilled and can also be harmful to others becoming who they should be without being so heavily dependent on us.
For years, I have put myself last, and in many ways, others don’t even notice. I’ve done it with my kids, my marriage, my friendships, my family. I make these sacrifices that go unnoticed, and in many ways aren’t even necessary and I can only blame myself. I am in control of my actions, not them.
It’s easy to get frustrated and resentful with others without taking accountability in the matter.
No one is making me put myself last, I am choosing to do that for various reasons. Sometimes we do it to gain love and admiration or because it’s the definition I was taught of being a good mom, wife or friend. I’ve even believed it’s a great way to show people you love them when there are many other ways to do that effectively without sacrificing who you are.
In my life this can look like this:
Eating my food after everyone else is served.
Leaving the last piece of bacon for someone else.
Saying yes to my kids’ activities even though I’m exhausted and need to stay home.
Only working & striving for my dreams when no one else needs anything from me.
Cleaning more than anyone else because I don’t want them to be too tired.
Not asking for what I need, but constantly assessing everyone else’s needs.
Watering down my feelings and being passive when hurt and upset.
Not asking for help when I need it.
I could type 101 ways this shows up in my life and even though I’ve gotten better at this, I know I need to do more.
My mental health depends on it.
Loving myself as well as I love others.
Taking time and space to be alone and take care of me without the guilt associated. Dismantling in my life this toxic idea that I should come last to love people in my life well.
Some ways I plan on doing this better going forward are:
Taking the last piece of bacon when I cooked it & am still hungry (joking but not haha).
Clearly communicating my needs and feelings in relationships vs just catering to theirs.
Asking for help in all areas of my life.
Reading books to continue the work of letting go of these false messages I’ve absorbed.
Taking time upstairs to be alone, meditate or spend time with friends without guilt.
Working through this all in continued counseling.
2. HUSTLING HARD.
I have built my business over the last 5 years and could not be more proud of it, but most people have no idea what goes into creating a mid-six-figure business online without working in that field. My closest friends and family don’t even really know what I do or the hours I put into my blog and my social media channels for it to become what it is today.
There is no get-rich scheme, and there is no job where you can make money like this without putting in an insane amount of work. Especially in an over-saturated market, the people who make it vs. those who don’t truly come down to work ethic.
And in my case, lots of answered prayers.
I have hustled hard for years, and I love this job and will continue to transform and mold with the ever-changing times of what it takes to be a successful influencer and blogger.
But I am burning out way too much, and I know I need to take more breaks when the money isn’t feeling worth it.
This job has made it possible for us to save for my 3 boys to go to college, my retirement, pay off all debt (100K!!), pay off cars, take amazing vacations, give generously, and hire multiple people and pay them well to support their families.
We are beyond grateful.
But working 60-hour weeks and being a full-time stay-at-home mom too is just not possible for me. It’s not possible to do everything well. Balance is a myth and it feels like this past year I have just been surviving.
Contract to contract. Rushing all day long. Hustling constantly.
This week is the first time in 5 years I took a break on Instagram and didn’t post anything on my feed or stories. Even if it hurts my reach with the algorithm, I’m choosing myself, and I deserve a break the same as anyone else.
In my life, this has looked like this:
- Replying to emails right when I get them.
- Being accessible to those who work for me and with me 24/7.
- Constantly planning and researching if I have a slow workday.
- Managing too many social networks vs. picking a focus.
- Taking on too many brand partnerships each month.
- Working most weekends without a full day of rest.
- Not taking a lunch break throughout the day.
So, what am I going to do differently now?
- Schedule my hours each week and not exceed them.
- I will only work 40 hours a week and completely take off Sunday (no creating content).
- I will take time every quarter to completely disconnect and rest.
- I will take off multiple weekends from posting of any kind throughout the year.
- I will hire more help and give more tasks to those who work for me.
3. FEAR IN FRIENDSHIP.
I am working through some resentment issues in counseling, and I am so encouraged by the progress I have made while I still have a ways to go. For me, my resentment mostly shows up in relationships, but mostly from how poorly I have been treated in friendships, and even by some family members in the past. Most have been related to racism, but some are just other people’s toxic behavior and patterns.
Sadly, they have impacted me so negatively that I have little to no desire to create new relationships with people. This is not like me at all or is not who I am at the core of my being, but sadly that is what trauma does to you.
You try everything to stay “SAFE,” and even my attempts to be super cautious of who I let in my life, this has still resulted in letting toxic people into my circle who I didn’t know were toxic until it was too late. Sadly, you can’t see everyone’s true colors until you’ve already invested time and energy.
Sometimes, certain situations bring out who someone really is, and you can’t see that until there is pressure, heat, or an issue in the relationship, and that is scary.
However, I am focused on letting go of this fear in creating new friendships. Trauma since high school has made me believe that people are not safe and being alone is better than letting people hurt you or realizing the horrible prejudices that exist in their hearts.
I want to be my old self, full of love…assuming the best in people with healthy boundaries in place. Does this mean I won’t be selective in my friendships?
Of course not.
I will be cautious, but I no longer want to be so guarded that I don’t even allow relationships that could be such a blessing into my life.
Fear keeps you alone and sometimes even settling for the relationships you are currently in when you know it’s time to let them go.
So, I’m not going to be trusting my own instinct alone, but I will be putting more of my trust in God. That He will bring positive people in my life and show me when to walk away, as well as help me to establish healthy boundaries.
I won’t be taking these 3 things with me anymore. I will be taking freedom, peace, healthier and more balanced friendships, better boundaries, and a new love for taking better care of myself. I hope you will do the same!
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jehava Brown. Follow her on Facebook here and Instagram here. Visit her website here. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.
Read more stories from Jehava here:
Do you know someone who could benefit from this story? SHARE this story on Facebook with your friends and family.