Thursday, October 17, 2019

How I became my own mentor

Sometimes I forget the importance of self care. Recently, I told my therapist that I was considering taking on a couple of mentees through the National Psoriasis Foundation. I enjoy volunteer work as a mentor to people who need to talk about their concerns with psoriatic disease. Plus, as I mentioned to my therapist, I wanted to do something worthwhile during my leave from work.

She stopped me there. Didn't I realize that taking this medical leave was worthwhile? Didn't I understand that I was busy taking care of myself? Nope. That never even occurred to me. She suggested that I take on one mentee, but she would choose that person for me. Guess who it was? Me.

I left that appointment with a fancy new journal. My assignment was to write to myself about the struggles that I have, particularly with regard to my psoriatic arthritis and my medical leave. Later, when I felt motivated to wear the mentor hat, I would answer those letters.

During my work as a mentor, I've worked with people who are amazing! I've become friends with some and have even met one in real life. I've also had people who are struggling so much that I didn't feel capable of mentoring them. But I've never had a challenge like the one I provided to myself! When I read the first message from my "new mentee", I was shocked! "This chick is crazy!" I thought to myself.  Still, I answered with the same thoughtful care and compassion I would have if it were a stranger I was writing to.

After a couple of entries, I was feeling so much more optimistic. I was reminded that I know what to do and what I need. My advice to myself was exactly what I needed. This project allowed me the opportunity to be a bit more insightful about my needs. When other people tell me that it's okay to rest, I sometimes don't believe them. It doesn't always feel like it's okay. But, when I tell myself that it's okay to rest, I now believe it. 

At this point, I'm going to wait before I take on any new mentees. I have my hands full with the one I have! 

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