Recently a friend of mine said, “This is my selfish year.” She’s an open and generous person so I know she didn’t mean that in a narcissistic way. What she was saying – to all of us – is that it’s time to pay attention to our personal needs and goals. And it’s time to make them a priority, too.
She’s talking to those of us who tend to take care of other people – our partners, our family, our friends, the people we work with – and place ourselves near the bottom of that list. Near the bottom of the list where the dregs are. The dregs of our time, energy and commitment.
We’ve been raised, trained and continually admonished to do this. We’ve been taught that this is the way to be a good person – by not being very good to ourselves. The problem here has to do with Balance. Or, more accurately, it has to do with Imbalance.
Somebody whose word I do my usually inadequate best to follow teaches this. “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” Loving ourselves is the model for learning to love everybody else. Caring for yourself and caring for others are one and the same. It’s all about balance.
I’m not talking to those limited individuals who only think about themselves. They wouldn’t hear me anyway. Besides, in my experience, they are very much in the minority. Most of us tilt in the other direction.
Most of us are down in Dregsville trying to survive on our own leftovers. Even more unrealistically, we hope we might possibly thrive on those leftovers too. Here’s a hot flash for you. We most likely will not.
I propose an exercise. Please forgive me. I started out as a schoolteacher. Consequently, every problem prompts an exercise. So pull out a legal pad and pencil or whatever your favorite recording device may – electronic or otherwise.
Write down this question. “What do I really want for myself this year?” Not what you want for any of those other souls in your life that I listed above. This time you need to find out what you really want for you and you alone.
Forming the answer to this question may take some pondering. Or it could be right there on the tip of your tongue and at the top of your brain longing to fly forth. Let it be spoken. Allow it to soar. Write it down.
Then just let it sit for a while. In your head, in your spirit and most of all in your heart. Because this is a loving question you’re asking yourself. And it deserves to settle in deep.
Eventually – sooner rather than later I hope – you’ll make a plan. That plan will be the specific steps you must take to get to what you really want for yourself this year. You’ll write those steps down too. Because it’s good to document and this document is a promise to yourself.
Next – and this is your promise to me – you will start taking those specific steps. One by one or maybe even two at a time. Moving steadily toward where you really want to be. You will do that because – This is Our Year.
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Alice Orr – www.aliceorrbooks.com