“Treating ourselves like precious objects makes us strong,” according to Julia Cameron. This has been a week of taking care of myself. It’s small things really. Little gifts that enhance the quality of life for the better. Buying myself flowers at the grocery store. I bought dahlia’s and floral cabbages from Canada and put them into an arrangement. I purchased the foods I like to eat – the delicious treats that I don’t often allow myself because I am purchasing something for someone else. Or buying what someone else likes instead of what pleases me. I’ve noticed somethings – first of all, I’m happier. I like my choices and it feels good to be taking care of myself first. The other bit I did not suspect or anticipate – everyone else in my house is happier too.
I picked up sushi because it delights me. It’s a little pricey so we don’t have it all the time. However, because I got some for myself, I was also able to share some with my family. Everyone was in a better mood. I got to feel like a benevolent goddess for sharing and everyone else was pleased and surprised. Today, I made a caprese salad platter for lunch. I had enough to share and the entire family ended up eating it together. It wasn’t a super fancy indulgence, we had tomatoes, salami, and I picked up bread and a nice mozzarella. I tell you this because it wasn’t like I dropped $400 at the store on expensive treats. I just bought small things to compliment what we already had and it brought us all together.
Not one person these past few days has complained about the meal. No one has decided to “Make a sandwich.” Instead of eating dinner. Everyone is happier when I share some of the delectable delights that I had intended to enjoy on my own. This was not an intentional experiment. It wasn’t some grand idea or strategy. It was simply a desire to meet my own needs. A recognition that so many of us don’t know what we like because we are so focused on pleasing other people. We do this so often and so thoroughly that we don’t even know what we like. And that made me sad. It made we want to know more about myself and what brings me joy. And it turns out that when I take better care of me – I’m actually taking care of everyone else.
It’s like that parenting adage that if you want to help your children, get yourself to therapy. The answer is not in healing them or fixing some outside issue. The answer to to heal yourself first. Meet your needs so that others don’t have to bear the burden of your lack. Give yourself an abundance of love and empathy so that when others come to you there is an abundance of love, support, and energy already filling you up. Only when you are full are you able to give. So if you need me I’ll be planning my own vacation and making more time to paint. The good of the world rests on my shoulders and I am not one to shirk responsibility. I hope you make some time to do some good and wonderful things for yourself too!