Think about the last time you did something nice for yourself. Did you treat yourself to something delicious, or did you perhaps finally purchase that special something you have been longing for? Did you give yourself one full hour of quiet time, or did you call out of work when you were feeling run down?
If I could put money on it, I would bet that you genuinely cannot remember the last time you treated yourself. But, I am equally as confident that you can quickly recall the last time you did something nice for someone else. Perhaps you performed above and beyond at work, or you offered your friend a favor in a time of need. Or, maybe you were a shoulder to lean on and offered your significant other some much-needed loving words.
How could I be so sure of these facts? Society often encourages the golden rule: Treat others as you would like to be treated. But where do we stand in that equation? What if we completely lose ourselves in an attempt to please others? While I am not minimizing extra efforts to be kind and respectful, I do believe there should be a place where we give ourselves what we constantly do unto others.
Some of you may think that this concept sounds oddly selfish. In the time we are devoting to ourselves, other things fall at the wayside: deadlines, errands, to-do lists, cooking, laundry…you get the picture. But what some of us fail to recognize is that we cannot possibly be our best selves if we are always looking to fulfill what we consider priorities in our lives. Are you still efficient and joyous in your routine? Would it hurt to set time aside each day in order to ensure your needs are being met? If you are constantly just “getting by” on the daily grind, is it possible that you reaching burn out?
The quote, “Work to live, don’t live to work” inspired me to write this piece. When we put others/other things first, we are robbing ourselves of the beauty life has to offer us. When we neglect to understand what our bodies or minds are trying to say, we push away what is truly important. And, when we treat others far better than we treat ourselves, we feel incomplete.
I encourage you to find what gives you inner peace and make an effort to find time for it, just as you would with all of your other responsibilities and duties. Be sure that you are feeling whole each day, and if you are not feeling that way, how could you be certain to change that? Ask yourself how you would help a loyal friend in time of need, and if you can do the very same thing for yourself. Always remember that the key to your happiness does not belong in someone else’s pocket.