To love oneself seems to be one of life’s greatest challenges. To treat yourself with respect and care may to some, even me, at times seems selfish. Yet we offer this free and unconditional love to our families and friends with ease. Never realizing if we don’t use those same practices on ourselves we end up tired, angry, resentful and worn down or perhaps worse, broken and diseased.
I have known people who at first sight appear to be incredibly self-centered and self-absorbed, but on closer look they rarely are actually loving themselves, taking care of their own mental, physical and emotional being. Yes, they may seem as if they put themselves first and act with a “me first” attitude, but they turn right around and abuse their bodies and are full of anger and resent. They seem to reflect a “the world is out to get me” attitude; often times judging others harshly about behaviors they don’t even see in themselves. They seem to feel threatened by anyone getting too close for fear they may take something away from them, their money, their time, and their ideas. They hoard, become greedy with their finances, belongings, time, and even love. If they were truly self-centered, they would be taking better care of themselves.
Then there are the martyrs, over worked pushovers that try to take care of everything and everyone to the point of exhaustion. They are so busy trying to fix all the problems of the world or their own household members and friends, that they become too busy and avoid their own issues in the process ( I am quite guilty of this one myself). Always able to see the bigger picture and find solutions for others, but not able to do these things for themselves. They can give excellent advice to others because they usually know that the same advice applies to one or many of their own situations or things they have dealt with in the past. We, the many that fall into this category, usually reach a breaking point brought on by the exhaustion of carrying around the weight of all the world’s problems while avoiding our own.
So what is the happy medium between healthy self-love and selfishness? How do we take care of ourselves and still love and show care for others? We start listening to our own advice and follow what feels right. Not what we think is right, not what we’ve heard is right, not what our minds decipher to be the logical course of action, but what our gut says is perfect and feels good. Did you ever consider that maybe the advice you so easily hand out, comes to you because it’s what your Being already knows is right for you? Even deeper, did it occur to you that situations your close friends find themselves in mirror what you may be going through yourself? Just change the faces and some of the circumstances and voila, you have a relatively similar issue. Now listen to what you are telling those beloved friends, “Just say, that is not acceptable and be consistent (my particular favorite).” How about, “You are not a doormat, stop acting like one!” Yes indeed, that one hits home. “You need to rest, eat right and take care of yourself or you won’t be able to take care of anyone else.” I hear you Mom. “Be the change you want to see in the world.” Gandhi was so right. But might I add, be the change you want to see in your own life. Easily said, not so easy to do, but shouldn’t it be?
I have decided to take my own good advice. I figure if I can spend all this time, working my butt off dealing with my life struggles, I can damn well change how I do things. I won’t expend any more time or energy than I already do worrying over my life issues. I will instead use my energy in a more productive manner and my tools…what feels good and what makes my life more blissful. It is amazing how quickly you can get into the flow of what feels good and how easy your Being responds to this change. I am able to make decisions quickly, I am able to feel less guilt and I am able to sleep at night. Bottom line, I am choosing to live my life, and it is My Life, with my inner knowing as my guide post. Isn’t that what we were meant to do all along? Isn’t that the whole point of having a deep inner knowing built-in, a gut reaction to pretty much everything? The problem isn’t how to live my life with more bliss, it’s deciding to never live without it. Decades of learned behavior and being brought up by parents that lost sight of their bliss is how our inner knowing got so screwed up. But it is still in there, trying to help and guide us. We just lost the ability to feel it, to listen to our own inner voice. I am choosing to fine tune my hearing to hear that still small voice and follow my own good sense, redefining what the 6th sense stands for.
Practice what you preach is the letter of the day! For me, I’m saying NO and Being Consistent…