Why You Are Sometimes Crabby: The Truth about Self-Care

[The following is an open letter to myself. It may or not apply to you too so I’m including you in the conversation.]


This is you. Except for the smiling part. [Photo courtesy of Lady88]

You are sometimes crabby because you don’t always like yourself so you put yourself last.
You are sometimes crotchety because, instead of taking a nap, you scrubbed the bathroom and mopped the floor, because (grumble, grumble) no one else is going to do it.
You are sometimes exhausted and strung out because you are never resting, always in motion. You can’t remember the last time you were in a quiet room and actually enjoyed yourself.
You are sometimes angry, jaded and disillusioned because you value cleanliness over Godliness, as in, you think God is a God of bleach, not a God of peace.

You are sometimes resentful and jealous and you have nothing left over because you opt for web-surfing and mindless bustlings over a quiet book and a cup of tea. And because you think naptime is actually Lysol-wiping-the-doorknobs time.
You say you have no time, but you squander what you do have doing stuff you don’t even like. Why? Because you don’t want to be alone with your own thoughts. Or God. What does God think about you? You don’t even want to know.

[Photo courtesy of Facebook.com/disgruntledhousewife]
What inevitably happens is, as we give ourselves to everything and everyone else, we give ourselves nothing. Because we do not like ourselves or at least cannot handle silence, we are surrounded with noise, with stimulation and stuff. We are never alone, even when we want to be, and when we finally have nothing going on, we can’t handle slowness and quiet so we fill it right back up. And we hate that about ourselves. So this is what we become: crotchety, crabby, standoffish, arms crossed in the corner, wondering when someone is going to stop what they’re doing and take care of us too.
Had enough yet?
This might be your life. It’s been mine for years. Isn’t it time we did something different?
This is the reason self-care matters. It matters because you’re becoming a version of yourself you don’t like. This makes you anxious, doesn’t it, to think you might give your friends and your clients, your husband and your children the impression that you can’t hold it together, that life is too much, or worse that you don’t even like them? Your moments of frustration and explosive anger, the battles you don’t need to get in with the kids, just might be the result of you not taking care of you.
This is why self-care is important. It is the reason we must-must listen to God, and agree with him. He’s saying “You are not the sum total of your accomplishments. If you don’t get the laundry done, I will still like you. And if you don’t get a raise, or finish college, or if you and your husband stop talking for a week, I will still want to be with you.” Yes, he is saying that. He’s talking about good love here, the kind that doesn’t have conditions. This is the kind of love you give your kids, so surely a perfect God can give it to you…right?
We must say yes to being loved like this, by Him first and then by the rest of the family and friends in our lives. We must say “okay” to the friends who will babysit or the mother-in-law who wants to cook us a meal. Say “yes” to quiet times, to your favorite movie, to date night, to snuggling instead of scrubbing, to a hobby that requires creativity and not brain-mushing social media.

You do not have to look like this. But you can at least be happy. [Photo found at: people.tribe.net]

We change slowly. We change with behavior, with an action repeated again and again. But it’s possible. We can choose to be free of not liking ourselves, loosed from cluttered minds and lives. We can choose that effervescent peace and giddy joy we see in our children. We can choose it, yes, we can. We choose it like we choose our jobs and our marriages and our friendships. Every day when we get up, we say yes to peace, to planning ahead, to making the most of the moments, to soaking up the goodness and forgetting about messes. We say yes to liking ourselves anyway, and letting our guts hang out around good, good friends. Try it today; try it tomorrow. I promise you’ll it. I promise you’ll like you.
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