Well, Oprah’s done it again. I watched her show yesterday afternoon and was once again floored by what I saw. The show featured a mother, a professional and educated mother, who accidentally left her two year old daughter in her car for more than eight hours while she worked.
The mother said that her husband normally took the girl to daycare but asked her to do so on this fateful morning. Apparently, he had a dentist’s appointment, so Mom added the drop off to her already too hectic schedule.
Since she’d been running early that day, daycare wasn’t open when she first left, so she ran some errands, thinking she’d come back and drop her daughter off.
That never happened. In the midst of rushing around, this mom drove herself to the school where she worked and left her sleeping daughter in the back seat of her car. This happened in the month of August, where temperatures were over one hundred degrees inside of the car during the day.
At the end of the school day, one of this mother’s friends and coworkers came into the school to tell her that her daughter was in the car. By the time the mother got to her, it was too late and this poor innocent baby had passed away from heat stroke.
This story made me very angry and upset. I tried very hard to comprehend how a mother could forget her own child, and I tried to have compassion for her. I’m still struggling with it, so I’m going to withhold my personal opinion on this situation. I will simply tell you that I cannot make sense of it, and that I feel horrible for the family.
These are my kids. They are quite literally my first priority, always. I do make a point to take care of myself, though, because without doing that, I cannot take care of them effectively.
But watching Oprah yesterday made me realize something. Even though I would never leave my kids alone in the car, there have been times where I’ve completed my motherly duties with less than a smile on my face. I have felt overstressed and under appreciated in the past, many, many times.
Still, when I took the time to examine my feelings, something occurred to me. These kids are SUPPOSED to take me for granted. That means I’m doing my job right, because they KNOW they can count on me. That was a lightbulb moment for sure.
But then, where do I find the appreciation I naturally need? Does it come from my husband, or my mother? My friends? Who will tell me I’m doing a good job?
I struggled with this concept for a long time. I felt like no one considered me important, like I didn’t matter to anyone. I thought that if I died, the only problem would be finding a baby sitter for the kids.
Then, one day, it came to me. I had to consider myself important and worthy before anyone else could. I had to realize that I AM worth loving, and I had to do that by loving myself first.
Now, this does not mean that I became selfish and self serving. I still put my kids’ needs before my own, and sometimes even my husband’s. But now I make time for myself. Time to nurture myself spiritually and emotionally, time to pursue my passions, and even time to shower. 🙂
I now work out regularly and watch my diet a bit more carefully. My body is in better shape and my mind is a whole new thing. I don’t feel overwhelmed all the time any more. When those feelings creep up now, I notice them and CHANGE MY MIND. I tell myself that I’m canceling those negative thoughts and replacing them with an affirmation of my true divine desires, and that’s what I do.
I realize this sounds simplistic, but I ask you to give it a shot. It truly makes a difference in the way you feel and the way you perceive your life. And perception is what it’s all about. Recognizing the good in your life only invites more.
Here’s where I’m tying it together folks. The bottom line today is this: BREATHE. Take a little time to take care of yourself so that you can better take care of those you love. Don’t let the stress of the mundane details of life get in the way of what’s important.
I feel terrible for the woman who lost her daughter on Oprah, but I will bet that every day she wishes that she’d been more focused on her true priorities than those mundane details. So if nothing else, let’s learn from her. Let’s slow down and breathe, and concentrate on what really counts. The rest will come.
Learn it, live it, love it!
Angela Atkinson is a Certified Life Coach and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic relationships since 2006, Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed coaching and has certifications in life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy. In her life coaching practice, Atkinson’s clients enjoy her personalized approach that allows and encourages them to become the best possible versions of themselves and to succeed in doing what they love most. She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online and NarcissismSupportCoach.com.