Treat Yourself Like a Precious Object

by justine

My one sentence message that I’d like to share tonight for #trust30 is below. I’ve spent the past year and a half learning this and really living it only for the past 6 months. It’s taken from the Artist’s Way book.

Treating yourself like a precious object will make you stronger.

I grew up with my mom telling me “Put yourself first” but as she wasn’t the strongest example of this, putting everyone else before her own needs and care, I didn’t understand. It feels selfish and indulgent and just not OK to put myself first. Of course I want to be first, having everyone wait on me and my whims, but the reality is, I do all of the waiting. And this creates serious resentfulness. Like, I will scream at your in public or at least, I will have nightmares of screaming at you in public for buying the wrong peanut butter. Ya.

“That is the other side of selflessness: its tyranny.” Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood

After some therapy work, I came to the realization that I wasn’t living my own life in my head. I was living what I thought everyone else wanted from me. So, I wouldn’t sit and watch tv if I wanted to because surely there is something more “important” like washing the sink full of dishes or cleaning the bathroom. I don’t go out alone because my fiance will be sad or my dog will be lonely. I make up excuses to not take care of myself. wtf?

I’ve had it before, the sense that even in the course of my most legitimate and daily actions – peeling a banana, brushing my teeth – I am trespassing. Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood

Therapy, time, experimenting and the Artist’s Way book have all helped me figure this out for me. And the big picture starts to come into focus:

  1. I see how mean and hatelful people are towards themselves
  2. I see how that leaks out in their interactions with other people
  3. And I just want them to know that it’s OK and they need to take care of themselves.

I’m learning that we’re all imperfect, we’re all in this together, and it’s ok. WE’RE ALL OK.

(For more on the above, dig into some Brene Brown – Gifts of Imperfection).

Taking care of myself first, making time for me, creating boundaries that honor my self are truly important to the level of happiness and contentment I feel. For example, last night I could feel that old rage start to bubble up, though it was just at a “cranky” level. I whined my old mantra, “I’m just sooooooo tiiirrreeeddddd”. And I made a decision to get to the gym today, no matter what.

After a sweaty cardio session, I felt much better, and it renewed my energy to deal with a work issue this evening. Could I have dealt with that issue if I hadn’t worked out? Sure. But I would’ve been in tears, yelling into the air about how f-ing stupid my life was, blah blah blah… instead, I’ve been mildly annoyed but kept calm and, really, almost found it funny.

Me – finding something frustrating funny – UNHEARD OF.

So yes – that’s what I would say to a million people if I could. It’s an easy was to say “Love yourself” but it feels much more tangible and DOABLE this way.

Treat yourself as a precious object. It will make you stronger.