Be really honest.
Take a look at this list and see how many things you do more often for other people than you do for yourself.
- Make a home-cooked meal or put the kettle on
- Show kindness
- Spoil and pamper
- Acknowledge hard work / effort
- Say thank you
- Offer praise
- Support and listen
- Help with a problem
- Say I love you
‘Love yourself!’ people tell you. ‘You have to love yourself in order for others to love you.’
I’d heard this a lot, I knew it was important but didn’t understand what value it would bring to me until I finally mastered how to do it. I have to admit it took me a very long time.
Most days I’d wake up thinking , ‘I’m alright really; good days and bad.’ My internal chatterbox would kick in and remind me of all my shortcomings. Eventually I told it to shut up. There was good stuff there, but I didn’t want to be big headed and sound like a self-absorbed Moron. Showing off is not a good look.
I was scared to admit that even though I was very good at loving and giving to others, I didn’t know how to love myself much.
I thought that was selfish. We are all programmed to put others before ourselves, but at what expense?
Actions speak louder than words
The way I was talking to myself was bad enough but the way I was treating myself was lousy. Like a rat-fink cheating boyfriend would. I was doing that to me with nobody else’s help. Would I treat friends and family this way? Would I speak to them so harshly and with so much disapproval?
Spending all my time doing things for other people that I don’t do for myself prevents me from living MY life
I was astonished when I realised that I find it so easy to do things for others and get caught up in their world. In the end, it all got too exhausting – the bank of Lisa was not just low on funds but completely overdrawn. When you are depleted, wrung out and exhausted, what use are you to others?
Boo hoo nobody appreciates me
I used to say ‘I’ve done all this for them and they don’t even appreciate it!’ Did they ask me to do it in the first place? Probably not but I was just being kind. Wasn’t I? Some might say I was even robbing them of an opportunity to love themselves and grow as people.
Loving yourself = making sure you are always nourished
And it’s exactly like a bank account in that you need to keep topping it up before you can spend (well in theory that’s how it works). So here’s some of the ways I found to take care of myself so I feel loved:
- Listening to my mind and body so I know what is right for me (only I know what is right for me, nobody else does)
- Getting enough rest instead of running myself ragged
- Eating healthily and cooking a yummy for myself and not just when I’m entertaining others
- Supporting myself in the right way when I’ve had a bad day (are we all going for the wine and chocolates right now?)
- Pampering and spoiling myself without guilt – bubble bath, face pack, manicure, pedicure, picking myself flowers from the garden, watching a good movie, indulging in a trashy novel
- Recognising if there’s a problem, it’s Ok to reach out to somebody else instead of blocking it out or not wanting to appear needy
- Acknowledging when I’ve done a good job or achieved something instead of blushing and hoping somebody will notice
- Encouraging myself on a bad day instead of mentally beating myself up; ‘It’s all my fault’
- Finding peace and quiet so I can spend time by myself clarifying my goals and what I want from life
- Saying ‘no’ when it all gets too much without feeling guilty and knowing that there are lots of other people who will deal with it – it’s not always down to me
- Forgiving myself for the ‘mistakes’ I’ve made and learning from them so I can move on
If I can do this for myself, then I won’t be disappointed with other people either when they don’t do it for me!
When I stumbled across this very obvious (maybe to some, but not me) discovery and put it in to practice, I felt more in charge of my life. My roots were stronger and firmer. I was no longer a little willow tree being blown about by every breeze. I felt energised and full of life. And most of all I felt nurtured and loved – just how I hope all the people I love feel when I’m showing them how much I care.
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