You Owe Yourself

Yesterday while reading a New York Times article about self-compassion for stressed-out teens, a quote from Dr. Kristin Neff from the University of Texas at Austin jumped off the page, forcing me to get real with myself:   


“There’s almost no one whom we treat as badly as ourselves.”  


What’s up with that, my friends? How is it that those of us who take such good and attentive care of others can be so neglectful of ourselves? 


Are you prone to the same patterns that I am? Pouring the very best of your energy and love into the people around you, while your own tank perpetually teeters on empty? Paying lip-service to self care, while consistently sidelining your own dreams, desires, and and to-do lists in order to help others achieve theirs? Forgoing necessary sleep, exercise, meditation (or whatever your most essential self-love practices are) in deference to everyone else’s needs? 


As much work as I’ve done over the past 3 years to examine and alter these inclinations, man is it easy to fall back into familiar habits.  


Here’s the thing: I’m a healer and a helper by nature. An Enneagram Type 2. There’s no getting around the fact that I derive joy from nurturing my loved ones, and find purpose in loving other people well. As a result, you’ll never hear me advocate for withholding tender (even sacrificial) care from the ones we love.  


But what I’m learning is that I have to put myself back on the list of people that I love.  


That the exquisite care and generous energy that I extend to others? I need to make a habit of offering those to myself, as well- as a regular practice, not an afterthought.   


This is what that looked like for me this week, in practical terms:

  • Enrolling in a class that will require a significant investment of my time and energy, and will place me squarely on the path to pursuing a long-held (and long-deferred) dream that I’m done putting off until “the time is right.”
  • Saying no to anything and everything that interfered with getting a solid 7 hours of sleep.
  • Splurging on a 90 minute deep tissue massage. (Because when you ignore the whisper of your inner wisdom long enough? Your body will cry out in protest.)  


What about you?


Tell me in the comments- what have YOU done this week to lavish yourself with love? And if you're racking your brain and can’t come up with anything, how about a little accountability? Leave a comment below with a promise to yourself- one thing you’ll do (or not do!*) before the weekend is up, to honor yourself and offer yourself the same wholehearted love that you’re known for dispensing so liberally to others.  


*Saying "no" is self-care too! 

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Lauren DayComment