Friday, October 28, 2011

Take care of YOURSELF!

Personal responsibility has been my theme this week. It keeps coming up in conversations, in Facebook posts and, dare I say, at three o’clock in the afternoon when I want to buy that sugary latte and muffin. Sigh. By the way, some days I DO eat the muffin. AND drink the latte.

But it’s more simple than just eating right, exercising, working hard, and saving our money. It’s more simple than honoring our obligations and responsibilities. It’s more simple than being aware of what’s going on in our families, communities, schools and government. It’s about taking care of ourselves. Like I said in my last post, we can’t save the world if we can’t solve our own problems. So self-care is the first step. Everyday and always.

But what about our families and friends? They need us, right? We can't be selfish and spend hours exercising and reading news articles and self-help books when we have children to bathe and houses to clean and work to do and friends going through rough times to help out, can we?

If we want to take care of our children, then we must take care of ourselves. If we want to help out our friends and neighbors, then we must help out ourselves. If we don’t, then we can’t take care of anyone else. If you don't sleep, for instance, your brain will begin to shut down anyways. Look it up. I'm not making this up. We could do ourselves or others some serious harm. We may think we can just keep on truckin' no matter what, but we will be off the mark and won’t be able to give it our best. And that’s what we need to bring to every moment of our lives – our best.

So what is our best? I can’t tell you that. That’s something each of us needs to figure out for ourselves. I might try to tell you that it’s finding balance, digging out the dark and negative in ourselves, and purging ourselves of want. But I don’t know if that’s right for you or what you need to hear right now. Maybe for some of us, it’s just getting out of the bed. For other’s, its taking a moment to stop complaining and figure out why we are bothered by others so much.

Okay, so we are each in a different place in our lives and need to take care of ourselves in a different way at any given time. So, what’s the first step? It starts with compassion and ends with a smile.

I was listening to a friend yesterday talk about a colleague who needed to be in control; so much so that she would give out assignments, then take over the tasks she had delegated. But it wasn’t the controlling colleague story that absorbed my attention; it was the compassionate and humorous way my friend related the story. Never once did she denigrate the woman. My friend related her frustrations over the situation with a twinkle in her eye and never turned it into a personal attack. She spoke from a place of compassion and light-heartedness. Actually, she lives her life from that place, and its one of the reasons I love and admire her so much. But I digress.

Or do I? How is it my friend can be this way with a woman who would challenge any one of us to maintain our good manners? I know that my friend is this way towards others because she has learned to be that way towards herself. She sees her own mistakes and foibles through the same compassionate eyes and doesn't take herself too seriously. She keeps her eye on the prize and has a good laugh over it.

Someone once said that transformation is not what happens in the future; it’s what we are doing right now.


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