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Taking Back Your Life, One Step at a Time

September 18, 2013

It's okay not to be perfectIf there is one thing women do in overwhelming numbers it’s that they give away more than they have to give, and most have plenty to give. Women are blessed with the innate ability not only to see what people need, but through the depth of their compassion and caring, they are compelled to act, even when they are exhausted and overwhelmed. My guess is, you know what I’m talking about.

This is the very reason they make excellent mothers, caring wives and compassionate caregivers; and why they are loyal, committed and hardworking employees. They are the first in line at fund-raisers and charitable events, and to help out a neighbor in trouble. It is also why they are the first in line at the doctor’s office with mysterious and not-so-mysterious illnesses; with burn out, compassion fatigue, adrenal fatigue, depression, weight loss or gain, migraines and worse. I know, I was in that line more often than I care to admit.

The truth is, that as much as we excel in helping others, we fail in taking care of the one person that matters most, ourselves. If you are on this path of self-destruction, let me caution you to stop now before it gets worse, because if you don’t, it will. One of our many talents it also the ability to deny our needs, and bury them so far underground we forget that we have them. It’s time to bring them out, dust them off and let them see the light of day. It is not only the healthy thing to do, it is a requirement of sane, peaceful, wise living, to value and care for ourselves so that we might have the resources we need to continue to shower our love on others.


Each morning, as soon as you wake up and can focus, take the journal and pen you keep beside your bed and write one sentence beginning with “I need…..”. That’s it. It doesn’t matter what it is or whether or not you take any steps to acquire it. Just write it down, take one slow deep breath and go on with your day.  Guaranteed this one sentence will be with you in some way throughout your day and show you something you need to pay attention to.

I like to do this exercise first thing in the morning before I’m completely awake. If I wait too long, my lizard brain wakes up and starts tossing up obstacles and reasons to avoid, deny or evade anything I might think I need or want.  This may not be the case for you. The important thing is that you take the five minutes required to do this practice every day.

Leave a comment or drop me an email ( and let me know how this practice works for you, or if it doesn’t!

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Marie Christopher permalink
    September 18, 2013 1:07 pm

    I wholeheartedly agree! Thanks.

  2. September 18, 2013 1:19 pm

    I love this idea, Dorothy. I wake up every morning thinking of everything I need to accomplish for everyone else, but tomorrow I’m going to start with what I need for myself–this could be a breakthrough in dealing with anxiety! I’ll keep you posted.

  3. September 18, 2013 1:25 pm

    Such a wonderful idea, Dorothy. I have found myself needing to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and immediately my list of shoulds and have tos starts spinning in my head and I have a hard time going back to sleep. I’m going to try that tonight should I need to emerge from my cozy bed and of course, remind myself of it in the morning!

    • September 18, 2013 1:51 pm

      I have also found listening to audio tapes helps me combat sleepless nights or those times when my lizard brain gets out of hand. I can’t think my own thoughts when I’m listening to someone else. Choosing the right aduio for the moment is important. Dr. E has been a God send over the past ten years. Her stories, her voice, her abundant love has been such a comfort. Keep me posted.

  4. September 18, 2013 1:56 pm

    I’m also one of those who wake up at night to go to the bathroom, and then start thinking too much instead of relaxing!

    • September 18, 2013 2:02 pm

      I wake up more in the night than I ever have, so I totally understand! Have you found anything that helps you get back to sleep?

  5. September 20, 2013 9:22 am

    Great idea and one I will learn to practice. I recently read a very old book by Charles Allen, called “God’s Psychiatry” and have decided to begin my day with recitiing the 23rd. Psalm. I recite it 5 times a day out loud, slowly and thoughtfully. It’s been life changing.

    • September 20, 2013 10:27 am

      The 23rd Psalm is one that I have always relied upon in times of need. It just comes to me and I play it over and over again and it has been a gift. Thank you for reminding me of the many gifts that the people of faith over the centuries have left behind for us to share.


  1. Ready to Begin Again | Aging Abundantly | Women Over Fifty | Empty Nesters | Caregivers | Aging Gracefully

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