Too often in our lives we put others in front of ourselves…we lose our essence to work, life and love. Our basic instinct of self-preservation put on the backburner because we are told it is selfish to put ourselves first.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating you never think of others and only work toward self-gratification. That is selfish. And selfish people suck.
What I am saying is, if you don’t occasionally put yourself first you will lose who you are. We have all found ourselves feeling burnt out, feeling exhausted and overextended. We lose the ability to figure out where our work (life or lover) ends and where we as individuals begin.
I was talking with a co-worker. He asked me how I stayed grounded when I was at an event and out of town for so long. It made me realize that in 3 weeks I have taken almost no time for things I enjoy. I couldn’t really remember the last time even beyond the last three weeks, I did something by myself that made me happy. What kind of life is that? How did I let myself ignore all the things that make me happy?
I was lucky today in that I wasn’t on the run. While there were a thousand things I could have worked on, I spent one hour away. My hotel is a short walk to the beach. So instead of sitting in my (very small) room I went to the beach. I put on my big floppy hat, took my book and laid down on a towel and listened to the waves. After just soaking in the sound of the waves rolling in for a while. I picked up the book and read. It was relaxing. It was needed.
I needed that time. I needed that hour of time for myself. Could I have continued to push myself for longer? Yes, absolutely. But why do that? Why not take a moment to find my center, make myself better? If you don’t care for yourself – physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually – you can’t take care of other people and things. It’s like when the flight attendant tells you to put your oxygen mask on first and then help others around you. Instead of letting ourselves become so selfless at the expense of ourselves, we must realize that Samuel Butler was right, “self-preservation is the first law of nature.”
What do you do for yourself and only yourself?