“Don’t listen to friends when the Friend inside you says ‘Do this!’”
— Mahatma Gandhi
If we were to put as much effort into pleasing ourselves as we do into pleasing others, we wouldn’t have to work so hard on loving ourselves. Imagine the emotions you feel for those you love, and apply those same feelings to you! There’s nothing better than enjoying your own company and treating yourself like a dear friend.
But if you put yourself at the bottom of the priorities list, you’ll end up feeling terrible, and that will extend to other areas of your life as well. You may think it’s better to care for others than yourself, but this isn’t true, because you project the way you feel about you to those in your life—and you want that projection to be a happy and loving one.
Most likely, you have no problem filling up your calendar with events or tasks you need to do each day, but may neglect to schedule time for yourself. This is often because you feel you don’t have the time for you, or it seems too frivolous. It might sound self-indulgent to book a massage for yourself, for example, yet you might think nothing of buying one as a gift for someone else. Even the gift of a nap when you’re tired would benefit both you and others, as your resultant mood could spread to those in your life, while also making you feel good.
Unfortunately, sometimes you can get confined to a “list,” and find that you’re allowing it to run you, instead of you running it. Habitually overscheduling your days with obligations, commitments, and projects will leave you feeling depleted rather than energized. Also, try to make a “could” list rather than a “should” list. Feeling like you must do something takes all the joy out of it. You become like a hamster in a cage, running in circles but never really getting anywhere.
You can choose to incorporate joyful activities into the tasks you need to accomplish each day. The joy is in the journey, so you want to make room in your life to enjoy yourself and connect with what is most meaningful to you.
So, think about trying the following:
— Create space. By simplifying your life, you will have much more space, and will experience a new kind of balance. You might begin by letting go of some obligatory volunteer projects that you’re no longer passionate about, or leadership positions that only feed your reputation but not your soul. You can also delegate household tasks and home repairs, and hire someone to clean your home without feeling as if you have to do it all by yourself, thereby creating feelings of martyrdom.
Live each day more mindfully by concentrating on what’s most important to you. What matters most to you right now? What activities or rituals would make this a wonderful day? How would you feel if they occurred?