“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.”
– Oscar Wilde
Think of all the effort we extend when we have company coming over for the holidays or other festive celebrations. We often display our best tableware, candles and linens for our special guests. Additionally, we spend a lot of time and care in presenting a beautiful meal to go along with the picturesque scene.
Unfortunately, many of us never think of extending that same kind of care and effort for just ourselves. For instance, we probably would not think to use a beautiful place setting or create a fabulous feast for our solitary evening meal. This kind of self-nurturing can sound self-indulgent and foolish to many of us, and a complete waste of time.
We often discount such a treat by saying something like, “no use making a great meal only for myself.” This suggests that in order to do nice things for ourselves we have to be entertaining others, celebrating a special occasion or have some other reason for such pageantry.
Certainly, some preparations may be too time consuming to perform on a daily basis but treating ourselves like a special guest and friend can be a mind-set we adopt on an overall basis.
Not surprisingly, there may be some who unintentionally help us feel guilty or silly for embracing these ideas as well.
This is especially true when our self-care extends to other areas of our life, and conflicts with the expected behaviors assigned to us. For example, a friend of mine decided to postpone an out of town visit with loved ones, and was met with an unpleasant interrogation as a result.
As author Alan Cohen, contributing writer for the New York Times best-selling series Chicken Soup for the Soul reminds us, “We do not need to rationalize, explain, or defend our self-nurturing to anyone. If an activity brings us peace and delight, that is reason enough.”
When we aren’t true to ourselves and don’t do what makes us happy, we are basically “playing a part” and “acting” out the roles we have been assigned. Nothing is emptier than discounting and sacrificing ourselves for the approval and expectations of others.
This type of inauthentic relating can only lead to a heightened desire to stay away from those we are role playing with anyway.
It is freeing to know that there are no rules as to when we can officially do good things for ourselves; we can do it today, for no other reason than just because we want to.
Ask yourself, “If my good friend were coming over, what wonderful lunch or activity would I prepare?” Then treat yourself accordingly and prepare that for yourself.