I was recently asked a question. “Sheleen - how do you do it all?
What makes you get up out of bed each morning when you have so many things you are juggling?”
My response? “I just do!”
A big part of my motivation to get up each morning is because of the people I surround myself with and I influences I have in my life. I have also come to realise that I am someone who needs something more from my life. I could easily choose not to do things, but for me, that would feel like my life has no challenge or purpose.
Like many of you, I juggle many different things, work, study, caring responsibility, I maintain friendships as well as continuing on my quest for ‘Mr Right’. I pursue interests, like learning Spanish, travelling, personal development and health. I am always trying new ventures because you don't know if you don't try :)
We all have choices over how we live our lives. But we also have lots of things we are responsible for, including, for some of us, other people. Perhaps our children or other people we care for.
In my case, many of my responsibilities haven’t come from choices I made. I didn’t choose to be a carer (and if I am honest, I didn’t want to be) and I don’t have the option to opt out. I just have to get on with it. I know that some people will say that I could walk away from my responsibilities and let someone else take care of things, but I couldn’t live with the guilt of not fulfilling my obligation.
Obligation. It’s a funny word isn’t it? Long and complicated – a bit like the circumstances and emotions it’s used to describe. My friend recently said that I feel an obligation to do these things, which makes me a responsible person. She’s right of course, but where’s the line between responsibility and obligation? And how to can you make sure you’re not taking on extra responsibilities because you feel you have no choice?
I haven’t got an answer to that figured out just yet, but I’ve been thinking about it a lot and I think a lot of it boils down to what your values are and what you see as the most important issues and qualities in life.
What are my values?
Most of our values are linked to emotions and that’s especially true for me. The top five things I value in my life are: health, honesty, love, family, and connection. Without these things in my life I would feel disconnected and not myself.
You know when you get that feeling that you haven’t made the right decision about something? And you feel sick or anxious but you can’t quite put your finger on what’s wrong? Well my friends, that’s you going against your values. If you are going against the things you value you’re not going to feel good about it. Most of the time it not even something we recognise that we are doing. It like being on auto pilot, but if we listen to that ‘gut feeling’ it will tell you if something is right for you or not.
My top value is health and that’s something that has become more important to me over the years because of what I have experienced. I suffer from two chronic illness, which can both be debilitating at times. I guess that would focus anyone’s mind on how important your health is!
I realised how important it was to look after myself when I couldn’t carry out simple activities. Even walking felt difficult. With a busy life it’s always challenging to avoid temptation, eat well, exercise and make sure I get enough sleep. But I know if I don’t keep an eye on these things I’ll be looking back on my choices in years to come and wishing I had done things differently. Setting little targets definitely helps to keep me on track, like going a few minutes of exercise, going for a walk or cooking a healthy dinner.
What is it that really drives me?
My values definitely shape who I am but what drives me? The answer? Pain. It’s sad to say but I realised how much of a drive that was for me about a year ago when I was caring for my aunt. It felt like during that time I was watching a never-ending fight for life. There’s nothing like watching the ones you love in pain to propel you into action.
It sounds awful to say but I also learnt how much I have to be grateful for because of the pain and suffering my aunt and mum went through. That experience caused me to step back, look at my life and assess where I’m going. I now know that I have so much more to do and learn, so many places to see and lots of people to help.
A wise man said to me recently that the grave is a rich place, but I didn’t get it. What the hell did he mean?
He then said, it’s rich because it’s where people go with their dreams. So if there is a book you want to write, a place you want to see, or even a person you want to tell something, do it! Many of us never fulfil our dreams and potential for great things because we don’t act on them. Then we die and take them with us.
I urge you, please don’t die with your dreams. I know I don’t plan to. Make sure you leave your legacy. As one of my favourite quotes by Gerard Way says: ‘One day your life will flash before your eyes, make sure it worth watching.’
What is at my core?
I hold love and compassion at the very centre of everything I do. Love for my family, and for other people. I think this is true for most of us. We strive to be the best we can be for ourselves and the ones we love. Love is what makes the world go round after all! Giving and receiving love is a basic human need and one of the first things we get when we come into the world.
But while it’s important to love other people and surround yourself with love, you also need to love yourself. It has take taken me a long time to get to the point where I truly do love myself and can see my value and forgive my flaws. I am now at the point where I know that I am truly awesome. I don’t say that to be big headed – it’s taken me a lifetime to even write that – but it’s a vital to love myself if I want to be the best person I can be.
Well then, I feel like we’ve definitely covered some deep questions in this issue of the blog!! I think I must think too much! But if you want to develop you have to start by truly understanding who you are. It’s where it all starts.
If I’m honest, I’m still searching for the answers to life’s questions. But I think I get a little bit closer every day to understanding what my life is all about. For each of us that is different, we all have own purpose and stories.
If we only have one life, then shouldn’t we make it count? We should be the best person we can be and put out in the world those things we want to get back. Love, happiness, kindness and compassion should be at the core of everything we do. If they were true for most people then maybe we wouldn’t have so much negativity, violence and destruction in the world.
Things happen in life that often change your perception of things. Loss of loved ones, illness, love and relationships. The majority of people will experience these things in their lives and some of them will be extremely profound experiences. For me all of those things have shaped who I have become and how I manage to keep going. It's why my friends think I’m Superwoman!
As always I would love to know your thoughts, What things are you juggling? what are your most important values? whats your superpower!