Take care of yourself first and then help the world. I wonder why, despite knowing what is good for us, the majority of us choose not to take that path and do not put themselves first. We are often so busy taking care of others – parents, children or poorly friends – that we forget to help ourselves first, as it may seem selfish.
Take doing exercise for example. We know it puts us in good shape, helps our flexibility and makes us feel great. Yet how many of us do it seriously and regularly? I really admire those who do. I have been paying my subscription to the fitness centre for several months without even setting one foot in it. I have all sorts of excuses but at the end of the day it is pure laziness. Having managed to drag myself there last Sunday I still feel like a new woman two days later. Long may it last that my determination to go regularly is maintained. Apparently when the two parts of the brain are fighting one another, the sensible side saying, ‘Get out of bed’ and the other part that is absolutely against it, we are supposed to count backwards from 5. It is true that the tiny moment of hesitation is the killer of all good intentions. So next time, i.e. tomorrow, I will try the 5 second count. All I need is the morning, which is the exercise-best time for me, to become a routine. Years ago I used to swim every morning before going to teach so why not now? I have visions of myself describing my general daily routine beginning with, ‘I get up at 7 and by 7.10 I am out of the house on the way to the gym…’
I don’t know if you have noticed but there are so many diet programmes on TV at the moment. They are meant to be encouraging but why are we so conditioned to focus on our food and alcohol intake at particular times of the year? January is the same the world over as everyone decides to get fit or lose weight for a forthcoming holiday, wedding, party, etc. Shouldn’t we just want to get fit or lose weight for one’s own self-esteem, one’s own good health and happiness?
I must admit that I have failed miserably to lose the extra pounds that have piled on me over the past few years. Still, as long as I am alive there is hope. However I now know the reasons why I choose to ignore this problem. The past year has been very rewarding in gaining even more self-awareness so all is not lost. Maybe the 5 second count will work and next time I will choose to eat an apple instead of some chocolate.
It is a lot to do with how we value and respect ourselves. Are we doing things for ourselves or for others?
I am amazed at the amount of wax treatments that we do at the beauty salon, where I work, when Spring is in the air. So is it OK to go around with hairy legs in the winter just because not many people see them? Other treatments like facials are of course not essential, yet some people treat themselves regularly just because they feel they deserve it and they owe it to themselves. They budget it and it becomes part of their monthly routine. I can see the difference on the ones who do this. They glow. Not surprising after all the cleaning, exfoliation, massaging and nourishing the treatment gives.
I have a friend who enjoys lighting the candles in her bathroom, then letting her body soak in a wonderful perfumed bath. She always buys good products for her meals, takes time preparing them, puts her music on and just enjoys herself. She does her yoga regularly, goes for long walks in the countryside and enjoys nature. There is an aura about her. She radiates peaceful energy. Her body and mind is in harmony.
It is not for nothing that the French have a saying, ‘La charité commence par soi meme’. Charity begins at home or more simply, look after yourself first.
A year from now, I hope to re-visit this piece of writing and tick all the right boxes.