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Live Your Best Life

Caring for Self, Learing the Hard Way

By Linda R. Harkcom,
Certified Comprehensive Coach and Certified Personal Coach Trainer

As you may have noticed, this is the first new issue of Your Body, Mind and Spirit in several months. While I wanted to be able to produce a new issue in November, God and the Universe had other plans. It seems it was time for me to learn some important, life changing lessons that weren't on my personal calendar. You know how it is, you go along with your life and the universe says, it is time you learn this and you say, "yeah, yeah, not right now, I'm to busy with life." Then of course the Universe responds, "Want to bet?" and makes something happen so you have no choice but to pay attention. Well that is pretty much what happened here.

For the past several years I have been on this journey of self discovery and have grown in many different ways but one thing I was never able to grasp was the importance of caring for self. Now I knew superficially that it was important to care for myself and I could preach that to others but I never really got it. I would put everyone else in my life first. The only time I would half way take care of myself was when I was sick which would happen a couple of times a month for about a day or an evening. I would go until my body said stop, usually with a fever and fatigue. My husband liked to say I have two speeds, 0 and 100 mph, nothing in between. I was well on my way to martyrdom, after all isn't that what a mother is to do? Sacrifice all for her family's happiness? Well as I was about to learn that is not the case.

What better way for God to teach me this lesson than to give me mononucleosis. Yes, the teenage kissing disease. A friend asked me, "How does a 40 year old woman get mono?" "By kissing 18 year old boys," I replied. Which was our big joke since a close friend's teenage son had it at the same time. It turns out that mono stays in your system once you've had it and it can reactivate, which is what happened to me. The infection gives you extreme fatigue which makes it impossible to do anything. There is no medicine you can take, the only way to get better is rest so the body can heal. That is what made this the perfect messenger, I literally could not do anything but fully care for myself for over a month. I could not care for my children, my home, my work, I could do nothing but focus solely on me. At first I fought it and of course it just got worse the more I fought so eventually my only recourse was to give in, to rest.

It was during this month that the light bulb finally went on in my head and I got the true meaning behind "taking care of yourself is important". I had known in my head that it was "important" but on another, subconscious level I really felt that if I took time to care for my self I was being selfish. What I discovered was that the total opposite is true. If I do not care for myself, I am being selfish. If I do not care for myself, then eventually I will not be able to care for others. I saw how this was true at the moment in my own life. I had not cared for myself so now I could not care for my children and my husband had to carry the full load. I then looked at how others I knew, who had put themselves in the same martyr trap and whom I had learned this behavior from. I looked at the long term affects and realized that their long term neglect of self had caused them to now be continuously ill and most often dependant on others. Instead of being able to enjoy life as others their age do, they are consumed with the ailments from the body they neglected for so long. Their spirit is also weak for it too has been neglected and had not been fed in so very long.

I then looked at what my life could be like if I did care for myself. By caring for myself, I would become healthier and I would become happier. I would not be as stressed, therefore I would be a better mother, wife, daughter, coach, friend. So caring for my self was not selfish at all.

First came a full surrender to the idea, then I began to embrace it. I began to care for myself and I began slowly to get better. But you know that old saying, you can't teach an old dog new tricks, well I don't believe that is true, however it may take a longer time to break old habits. The next four months I began to learn the balance between caring for myself and caring for others. Occasionally I would overdue and end up back in bed for a week. The more this happened, the more I became in tune with my body and was able to determine when I needed to rest and then actually taking the time to rest.

I am happy to report that I am now healthy and have been since about mid-March. I am continuing to care for myself both in body and spirit. I have quit smoking. I am walking four to five times a week and have started taking guitar lessons. And guess what? The world has not come to an end. My house did not fall in around me and my family did not leave me. In fact the opposite is true. I am happier and so are those around me.

I would like to end by telling you that although this experience was difficult I am grateful for it. I am grateful for the many lessons I learned throughout the five months which I look forward to sharing with you in the future. I am grateful to my husband for all of his care, kindness and carrying the load alone when I could not help. I am grateful to Janet Jackson for the Reiki, to Judy Trabbold of the Mt. Herb Shoppe for her guidance in rebuilding my immune system, to Kathy Duffy for her counsel, to Andrea Billey for being my walking partner and to all my friends and family for their loving thoughts. And finally to our contributing writers and you, our readers for being so patient with me while waiting for this edition. Thank you all.

Linda Harkcom offers classes at The Energy Connection in Irwin, Pa. She is also avialable for speaking engaements and offers private classes for groups of 5 or more. To register for a class or for more information please call 724-433-0444 or e-mail me at

Linda Harkcom is a Certified Comprehensive Coach and she is also a Certified Personal Coach Trainer, one of only 10 people in the world with this certification. She is a relationship coach who works with women and men who are raising a family and seeking to bring balance, direction, and success into their marriages, families and lives. Linda has over 18 years of marketing and public relations experience and has run her own marketing company, The Marketing Company, for the past nine years. She has combined her expertise in business, motherhood and marriage with specialized training from the Coach Institute to offer individual and group coaching sessions in which clients learn how to unlock their own possibilities and live a successful and balanced life. To schedule a free Conditional Consultation or to suggest a topic you would like Linda to write about contact her at 724-433-0444 or e-mail her at

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