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The First Step to a Balanced Life

May 31, 2008
My mother has nine children. When her sixth baby came home from the hospital, all her children were under the age of 7, her nearest family lived 1200 miles away and, apart from my father who wasn't much help, she had no support system!

My entire life, I hardly ever remember my mom sitting down except for a meal -- and even that was rare. She never stopped; she never sat; she never rested until she physically collapsed from sheer exhaustion. She never stopped doing until she literally had no choice.

I Thought Love Equaled Sacrifice

I love and respect my mother. She was devoted to her family and as a child I observed her dedication, commitment, and sacrifice. I watched her give, give, give until there was nothing left to give.

I don't have 9 children, but in many ways I modeled my mom. If she could work so hard, give so much to so many - how could I justify doing less?

I, like her, thought that putting everyone else's needs before my own was the right thing to do. I measured my value by how much I could do for others. And if I wasn't working at something I felt guilty and ashamed. An over achiever was born!

As a young bride and new mother I actually took up smoking and drinking coffee so I could have an excuse to sit down and take a break.

I was so obsessed with doing, that when my friends would come over for a cup of coffee, I would serve them and do my ironing as we talked. When I became a career woman, I took my beliefs and habits to work and retained the same standards for my responsibilities at home.

It took a few years before I even noticed how miserable I was. Completely out of balance, always tired, rushed, cranky, all I could see were obstacles and challenges in my life.

While I was successful by career measures, I felt alone and unappreciated. I resented everyone around me, including my family. It felt like everyone wanted a piece of me and I had nothing left to give and certainly nothing left for me.

Unconsciously I was following the model I had seen growing up, assuming it was how it was supposed to be. I got caught up in doing for others so that I could live up to the example set by my mother and since she was loved surely I would be too.

I attached my self worth to my accomplishments and wound up with an addiction to doing. As I checked items off my To Do List I had fleeting moments of self-acceptance.

I constantly thought: "If I can achieve one more thing, get something else done, then surely I'll find contentment and satisfaction." When and if contentment ever came, it was brief and then I was on to the next goal.

You Are Enough!

Believing that we must become or do something in order to deserve love and happiness is a source of great pain. The truth is, we are and always have been enough. We are worthy of love regardless of what we do or don't do.

If you believe in God you probably believe that God loves you. Beyond that there is another whose love and acceptance is within your power.

That person is the only one who can determine how you feel. That's right! You guessed it. It's YOU!

A balanced life begins with self-love. The greatest gift you can give to anyone, especially the children who will model you, is a healthy self-love.
About the Author
Debbie Battersby, speaker & success coach, has helped thousands of people transform their lives. She's an elite Master Trainer with world renowned peak performance expert Tony Robbins' leadership programs. Her unique program, "Using Your 7th Sense" gives you the power to grab more potential and ascend to new heights in your own life.

Order her FREE e-book: "7 Steps to Go from Goal Setting to Goal Getting"
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