Me First!

How often are you able to honestly look into the mirror, and before thoughts of negativity and body-bashing come swirling through, pause, smile, and feel confident about who you are as a person, how you look on the outside, and what you’re doing with your life? Are you even able to do this? Are you proud of what you see?

The truth is, I think most people are living in a quiet desperation, never really “happy.” How can you be content with yourself if you give all of your control to other people? Too many people walk around like zombies: wake up, work, come home, veg out on the couch to TV reruns, drag themselves eventually to bed. Rinse and repeat. It’s so easy to get burned out when you feel you aren’t serving your purpose (or even have a clear one). For me, I am happiest when I first serve myself and then work diligently to serve those around me. I feel as though I’m getting taken care of AND can better help others that I care about. I can go to sleep peacefully each night knowing that I’m not being selfish- I’m doing what’s right. How can you consistently give of yourself and never replace what you’re giving? That’s the fast track to empty, my friends. I feel like too many people live that way. Too many people are afraid of seeming “vain” or “puffed up” if they take time to care for themselves. A workout seems like a luxury, and don’t even get me started on making time for a full 8 hours of rest each night.That emptiness will lead you to “fill” it with food, alcohol, [your drug of choice].

Spoiled, right? Not practical?

By whose rules?

Stress and lack of self-esteem are self-imposed things in life. It’s all about letting others shake you and internalizing what they say or what they think. When you take care of yourself, you are proving to yourself that you’re worth that extra 10 minutes to sit down and enjoy a meal, spending an hour every week at a yoga studio, dabbling in a new hobby, and doing things that lift you up. Things that elevate you as a person aren’t frivolous- they’re crucial.

I had to start looking at self-care as a task, needing to be scheduled in just like a dentist appointment, paying my bills, or meeting up with customers from work. I write it on my calendar, just like anything else I plan on doing or getting done and I stick with it. I plan my errands and work around my workouts, not the other way around. Yes, I’m flexible with time, but when I’ve planned to take care of myself and my health, I stick to it. I realize that no one else can do this for me and that’s what makes it special for me. Tonight, I plan on a delicious all-vegetarian dinner that I will cook myself, spend time eating at my dinner table, followed by an hour or two reading a new book and then will sink into a warm bubble bath. Tomorrow, a long run through my neighborhood (6 miles) and after I finish working in the afternoon, I’ve got a pedicure planned. Tomorrow night, I’m working on a new oil painting, inspired by a gorgeous photo “G” took for me. I can do my best giving help and care to my customers, my friends, and my family when I do the same for myself.

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