“Your vitals have stabilized, and you are going to be just fine, but you have a condition called supraventricular tachycardia,” the doctor said.
Hearing those words was equally comforting and disconcerting. Obviously, I was relieved and grateful to hear that I was going to be fine. However, I found myself wondering, how did I get here and what is supra-ventricular-tachycardia? Does that mean my heart is tacky?!
You got here by failing to prioritize yourself, I thought, answering my own question. You could say this was my “come to Jesus” moment. I knew I had to make some changes.
Waking children, making breakfast, driving to school. . . This was an ordinary day until the extraordinary happened. Pulling into the drop-off line, I knew something wasn’t right. My heart suddenly raced so fast that I thought it might jump out of my chest. Sitting perfectly still behind the wheel, I could not make it stop. Helplessly, I looked into the rearview mirror and saw my daughters engaged in their basic banter before class. Desperate to keep them unaware, I slowly crept up to the front of the line where security saw my panic. They ushered my kids inside and called an ambulance for me.
On an ordinary day, the extraordinary happened. With no warning and no history, I suffered a major cardiac event in the carpool line. Once I reached the hospital and received treatment, I got an explanation: Supraventricular tachycardia (or SVT). SVT is a rapid heartbeat that can cause chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and dizziness. It can be brought on by a number of things, one of them being stress.
Prior to being diagnosed, I was constantly loving on and caring for everyone except myself, and it could have cost me my life. I was an expert at making sure everyone else got to the doctor and had what they needed. It was not until I was lying in a hospital bed that I stopped to think about my own needs. Sis, is this you, too? Who can relate?!
Since that event, I have taken much greater care of my heart—literally! I have made myself the top priority in my life. The memory of those uncontrolled moments in the carpool line was enough to really shake me up. Now, I listen to my body and not my schedule. When I need sleep, I rest. I avoid stressful situations and toxic people. I have become adamant and unapologetic about filling my cup daily, and I am enthusiastic about teaching my sisters to do the same. I get joy and deep fulfillment from teaching and empowering women to affirm themselves. To keep it one hundred, the only validation you will ever need is your own!
One of the most profound lessons I have learned in prioritizing self-care is that my relationship with myself closely mirrors all the relationships in my life. I teach people how to treat me by how I treat myself. For example, if I don’t set and keep boundaries, I am teaching others they don’t have to respect my boundaries. If I consistently put my needs last, I am showing others around me that they can put me last as well.
Prioritizing me saved my life. What this means for me is not saying ‘yes’ when I want to say ‘no.’ It means living my life out loud and on purpose in the relentless pursuit of my dreams. It means letting go of things that no longer serve me. It means no longer falling back to make others feel comfortable. It means pouring into myself first. I can’t pour from an empty cup. How can I give what I don’t have? That’s why I make sure my cup is full every day, and what is in my cup is for me. The overflow is for everyone else.
Although it may sound selfish, it is the best possible way for me to show up for others. Self-love is the best love because it allows me to show up as my best self. When I am complete, everyone around me gets the best version of me—not the scraps. There is a tangible cost when you don’t put your health, well-being, and wholeness first. For me, it was a health scare. But rest assured, the message was received. Self-care is not selfish, Sis. I love me some me!
What about you? Are you the priority in your own life?Leave a Comment