Permission Granted: Put Yourself First
July 5, 2016
Have you ever noticed that it’s easier to be kinder and show more compassion to others than to show kindness and be compassionate with yourself? I know that this is the case with me, and I think it is likely true for many people living on Earth right now. This is a loaded issue and one that definitely deserves our attention. How can we treat ourselves the way we would treat those we love? It’s a bit of a foreign concept for many of us. I ran across these words from a fellow Martha Beck Life Coach, Michele Woodward. I loved them and felt that they deserved to be shared! Enjoy!
Let’s say you feel frustrated and unhappy and can’t really put your finger on the “why” of it. Let’s also say that you’re someone who’s always putting the needs . . . of other people ahead of your own, but you wouldn’t call it that. You’d call it “doing what I’m supposed to be doing” or “what I have to do right now.” Or “love.”
But there’s that niggling frustration, every single day. The sense that there’s something you’re not doing that you could be doing. Something that would be delightful and fun. Nourishing even. You just can’t see a way to do that AND do the thing you’re supposed to be doing.
So, let me ask you this:
If you went on a picnic with three of the dearest people in your life, and you opened the picnic basket and there were only three sandwiches, what would you do?
Would you say, “Oh, it’s okay. I love you so much and want you to be fed and happy, so eat the sandwiches. I’ll just sit here and pass you the mustard and a napkin and anything else you need.”
Would you squish down your own hunger so the hunger of others could be satisfied?
(Plenty of us do this every single day. We do it because we have heard that parenting, partnering, working, or serving needs to look a very specific way. We let that strict definition shape a box that’s increasingly smaller and harder to live in.)
(And sometimes we live inside the teeny tiny box because we’re not sure who we would be outside of it. We’re not sure if we’re exactly comfortable with how big we might become if we were to step outside.)
(And, then again, we worry that the person who’s not having a whole sandwich because of our needs might be mad or resentful. That’s awkward, uncomfortable and possibly fatal to the relationship.)
(And we are doing this in the first place because relationships with others are so important. More important, in fact, than our relationship with ourselves.)
(And we might have learned that love looks like doing stuff for other people all the time, regardless of the impact on ourselves.)
Back to the picnic scenario. You’re hungry and there aren’t enough sandwiches. Your gut says to let other people have what is there because it’s appropriate, it’s right, it’s safe. But you’re starving, aren’t you?
Might you consider a simple solution of dividing each sandwich into four equal parts so that everyone could have some? So everyone could be nourished?
It’s time to ease your frustration and own your right to your own well-being, my friends. And while asking for your portion might be scary, the odds are it will turn out beautifully. Because I know for a fact that the three people you love most in the world want nothing more than to share their sandwich with you.
Because they love you just as much as you love them.
“Why are we so often our own toughest critic? Why do we talk to ourselves in ways that we would never consider speaking to others? Self-compassion, learning to understand and calm our inner critic, is central to living a brave life as a partner, friend, parent, and leader. The Self-Compassion workshop combines the skills of mindfulness and self-compassion to enhance our capacity for courage and emotional well-being.”
—Brené Brown and Kristin Neff
It seems fitting to tell you all about an online course on self-compassion that I am taking. It is co-facilitated by Brené Brown and Kristin Neff, the latter of whom is a self-compassion researcher, author, and associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin.
The beauty of this class is that there is no timeline! You can do this on your schedule. This may be perfect for those of us who need to give ourselves a break while learning something new that is extremely beneficial. You can read more about the course and purchase it here. Join me and discover healthy skills that you can use in your daily life when you’re experiencing tough emotions.
Due to the fact that self-compassion and self-care do not come easy to any of us, I am including this video of Oprah Winfrey talking about the importance of taking care of yourself. Additionally, I just couldn’t resist putting this quote in because I believe it sums up the message of this e-newsletter perfectly! Treat yourself to the video. You deserve it!