Thursday, November 27, 2008

“Be Good to Yourself”

Is what a wise friend who resides in Annapolis, Maryland told me. “Be good to yourself.” Think about that. What is your initial thought? Mine was: ‘Have I been truly good to myself in this life that I have lived thus far? Have I?’ Have you? I am not sure if I have been when I think about it in totality.

We spend a lot time trying to be good people and making attempts to be good to others – but being good to ourselves including taking care of our hearts typically falls to the bottom of the list. Just today I heard a colleague say, “I need to take some time off. I am so tired, but…” Her lists of reasons were profoundly numerous. They were meaningless to me when I think about my sanity. However, her justification for working entirely too much were legitimate to her. In her mind, there is no way she can take a few days to debrief. Is she being good to herself? Possibly. It is relative. Right?

In today’s climate (increasing unemployment rate, overbearing depression, salary decreases, and unhealthy stress) it is easy to neglect and/or harm yourself. Actually, it is too easy! But, these are the times we have to buckle down. Even as I typed that (buckle down) I imagined someone thinking: ‘What in the h*ll are you talking about, Brian. How in the world can I buckle down when I don’t have straps and latches to buckle to anything?’ So, I take that back. Should I have typed, ‘Keep the faith?’ Conversely, the question can be asked: ‘Extend faith for what?’

That question is real. Just like the command I received: “Be Good to Yourself.” It was so real to me that I concluded that I by no means have been a good steward of being good to myself. Nonetheless, extending some level of faith is somewhat easier for most because one does not have to do much to have faith (just speak it into existence?). Yes, I hear ya, ‘faith without works is dead.’ Really? SO, you mean to tell me that I have to work for my faith to be accurately conceived and manifested? I also have to be good to myself? Wow! What more does one have to do to get there? There being a good place.

Having faith is a no brainer to me…even without working for it. We can just believe –but to be good to oneself has proven to be extremely difficult. How do I know? Check out the number of people incarcerated for foolishness. Drive around an urban area, and notice the mental illness. Travel through a well-to-do neighborhood, and notice the unhappiness. Just conduct a little research on the state of health among Americans.

My conclusion is we are not being good to ourselves. We are killing ourselves spiritually, politically, emotionally, financially, and mentally. This is unacceptable to me! I want more for my life. You?

Please spend the remainder of this Thanksgiving week pampering yourself in whatever healthy way possible. Give something back. Take a moment to consider someone else. There are too many folk doing bad this year. Too many for me to sit down at a dinner table without giving thanks to something/someone. As a matter of fact, I am giving thanks to that wise person NOW by adhering to her gentle and poignant demand.

Written by Brian E. Payne. Inspired by 4 words:



Muata said...
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Muata said...

Reader Response:

Wow! This article is great! So positive!

I teach workshops on Self-Love so you know I love this. It is true we are not taught how to love ourselves and to be good to ourselves, but I submit that we cannot give from an empty cup. Just like the folks tell you on the plane, you much administer oxygen to yourself before you give it to anyone else.

Check out this link on my website where for a list of 10 Ways to Love Yourself.

Peace & Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!


Muata said...

Reader Response:

Brian—being good to oneself requires a certain rejection of the status quo. We must find our own space even if that means marginalizing our work and home life (not that we cannot find meaning in work and family)…..but we have to explore ‘the beyond’…..that territory that truly makes us happy and allows our cosmos to evolve…. to push the creative impulse that empowers our deepest desires. Have a Happy Thanksgiving….our blessings are great, we just have to open up to them. Hope all is well.


Muata said...

Reader Response (Annapolis, MD - Wise Friend):

Those words, "Be good to yourself", are ones that our friend and Jim's cousin, Sr. Mary Daniel, often use at the end of her emails to me. Whenever I read them, they have a freeing affect on me. That's why I sent them on on to you. I hoped they would affect you and, from your blog, I can tell they have.

Here's what I mean by "freeing":
So often with our daily efforts and interactions we focus on others - what we can do for them, what they should be doing for themselves, how can we change the world.

The externals can become overwhelming - some we can control, some we cannot. But in the midst of it all, those words, " Be good to yourself", remind me to acknowledge that I'm a creature, not perfect; that I can forgive myself for the times I've judged others, become controlling, selfish, whatever, etc.

It's almost like a joyful mini-renewal, to get up and see my life, and those in it (including myself) with hope and new promise. How I move on with daily life then has a little more positive note - with exercise, with prayer, with re-connecting. Even if it's for a little while, that little while is part of the moment.

Just wanted you to know why I sent those"freeing" words on to you with every thanks for a friend who has made a difference in our lives.


Muata said...

Reader Responses:

Will do!

Many many thanks!


All too often we don"t know how to love me.


I needed this!!


Muata said...

Reader Response:

Thanks so much for the reminder
I will share this message with family and friends..

we all need to take more time to love and care for ourselves.


Muata said...

Reader Response:

I read this email at the right time. Brian thanks for sharing and have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving.


FREEDOM said...