Caring for Self

Learning the Hard Way

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

If you have been to our site before, you will notice Your Body, Mind and Spirit has a new look and for the first time in several years, we have added new content. While I wanted to be able to produce content on a regular basis for several years now, 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 few times a year. I would go until my body said stop, usually with mononucleosis (I’ve had it three times) or shingles (I’ve had them six times). Yes I am the poster child for stress related illness. I’ve even had shingles and mono at the same time!

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 these two illnesses. The infections give you extreme fatigue which makes it impossible to do anything. The only way to get better is rest so the body can heal. That is what makes them the perfect messenger, when I have gotten them, I literally could not do anything but fully care for myself for over a month each time. 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.

I am a little hard headed and God had to send me the same message multiple times, but I finally got it. It was during my last bout of the shingles 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-January. I am continuing to care for myself both in body and spirit. don’t get me wrong, this has not happened over night and the journey has taken about ten years, and I am still on it. But I have come a long way. In those 10 years, I have quit smoking. I have adopted a healthier low-carb lifestyle and have lost 50 lbs. I have made some career changes that have reduced my stress level and am beginning the process of feeding my soul which has been neglected for far to long. Instead of being sick one a month, I have not gotten it down to once a year and hopefully moving forward I will be able to improve that as well.   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 this 10 year journey 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 my many, friends,  teachers and mentors who have helped me along this journey. And finally to our contributing writers and you, our readers for being so patient with me while waiting for this website to move forward. Thank you all.

Linda Harkcom offers one on one coaching, in person or via phone. She is also available 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 her 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 success coach who works with women and men seeking to bring balance, direction, and success into their lives. Linda has almost 30 years of marketing and public relations experience and has run her own marketing company, The Marketing Company, for the past 20 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

What is Life Coaching?
Professional Life coaches provide an ongoing partnership designed to help clients activate the possibilities in their personal and professional lives. Coaches help people improve their performances and enhance the quality of their lives by helping the client change success inhibiting beliefs, patterns, actions, etc. into ones that will make a positive change in their life.

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