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Every time you’re given a choice between disappointing someone else and disappointing yourself, your duty is to disappoint that someone else. Your job, through your entire life, is to disappoint as many people as it takes to avoid disappointing yourself – Glennon Doyle, Untamed

This is the season of supporting friends and family. It’s also a season known for stress and overwhelm. Of over-doing everything – gifts, food, commitments. For some, it’s akin to what happens when you try to get everything done before going on a vacation… by the time you get to your destination, you’re too exhausted to enjoy it.

Often, it’s because you don’t want to disappoint anyone. This season, why not try something a little different: during your time of preparing for your family, also include your own needs, and make sure your needs are met.

This may seem selfish. It is selfish, but in a good and essential way. It means that you can be there to enjoy the season with your family, instead of feeling exhausted and not really being there for them.

You may have heard of the three sisters in growing vegetables. It’s an indigenous tradition where corn, beans and pumpkins are grown together. The corn comes up first, and provides a pole for the beans to wind around. Both make room for the other to get some sun time. The corn roots are shallow, while the been root shoots into the soil, catching water that the corn root doesn’t need.

Pumpkins break the ground last, but when they do, their leaves spread over the ground, shading the ground for the corn and beans, preserving water. They root away from the corn and beans and thus don’t compete. Finally, beans are legumes, meaning they produce nitrogen that the soil needs to keep growing all three.

Robin Wall Kimmerer talks about this process in her book Braiding Sweetgrass. Ms. Kimmerer is a botanist and member of the Potawatomi Nation. She ends this section by noting how this works among these three sisters…

It’s tempting to imagine that these three are deliberate in working together, and perhaps they are. But the beauty of the partnership is that each plant does what it does in order to increase its own growth. But as it happens, when the individuals flourish, so does the whole.

This holiday season, take a moment to see how you need support, so that you can truly enjoy this time, and your loved ones can enjoy your presence.

Need help quieting the struggle between what you want and what you need? Reach out here to book a therapy appointment with Maryanne Nicholls.

Self-care: what it really is

Quote of the Week

If nobody knocks your door, knock your own door! The most precious support for you is the support you give yourself!

― Mehmet Murat ildan


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Maryanne