Today is designated International Day of Charity, thus I decided to muse on giving back. The first thing that comes to all of our minds when we hear the word charity is giving back to those in need for a myriad of reasons.
I know that women who want to give back to others are happier because we see and feel the needs of family, friends, coworkers, and strangers. You are thinking of your list, of course. And I am 100% certain you did not add yourself after the word stranger because it feels uncomfortable and selfish to give back to yourself. This is what we were taught as children.
Two True Stories
A Marvelous Decision
A very close friend phoned me yesterday. We don’t talk often and we see each other even less frequently because we live in different cities.
She told me she took a family cruise, as many families do over the summer. Her family cruise woke her up to the realization that from now on, it is her time. Before the family cruise, she was invited to go on a winter cruise with a friend. Although she wanted to go, she turned down the invitation because of her family.
After her family experience on the cruise, she phoned her friend and said she had changed her mind. She booked her ticket and felt marvelous with her decision. She is now enjoying giving back to herself.
Adventures in Panama
A few years ago, my ultimate concierge had a business meeting in Panama. Wherever he goes, I go. The meeting was during the time one of my grands was graduating high school. We made the decision to leave early so we could attend the celebration in Arizona.
Storms delayed us in the Panama Airport for seven hours. We arrived in Miami after midnight and took a bus to a motel to spend the night.
We were up the next morning at 5:00 am to catch our 7:00 am flight to Arizona. If we had not gone, we would not have been missed. Am I glad we attended? Of course. Will I do it again. No.
I have read quite a lot on the topic of giving back to yourself because I was one of those women who felt if I did think of myself first, it was a selfish act.
Certainly I continue to practice do unto others as you would like others to do unto you; however, I have added one caveat and now practice doing unto myself as well. After much soulsearching and reading, I know that nurturing myself is neither selfish nor narcissistic. It is emotionally and physically healthy.
Caring for yourself, devoid of ego, is the most unselfish things you can and should do for yourself.
It is equally important for women younger than 50 and older than 50 to ensure they stay healthy in mind, body and spirit. Why? Because when you allow yourself to be the best you can be, you have both the clarity and energy to give back.
How I Give Back to Myself
1. I spend time alone to smell the flowers when America and I take our early morning walks.
At the end of each walk, we climb the steps–50 in total–to the top of the Museum of Contemporary Art. From our high vantage point, we watch the world go by down below. America hugs my body as Orchid used to do
and I am at peace.
2. I write from my heart.
Early mornings, I climb out of bed and write. Writing is a form of reflection and joy; I use this time to give back to myself and reap the benefits of making myself happy. My advice to you, darlings, is to find time for a hobby or career that feeds your needs.
3. I surround myself with compassionate, supportive people who I respect.
4. I work out and eat well.
Nourishing my body and my mind
, I take boxing lessons, lift weights, do stretching exercises and I walk America. I eat regularly veggies and fish and take a few vitamins.
5. I walk on the positive side of life.
I stay cool, calm and collected–except for technology, which is a daily part of my life. I even laugh at that because, as Ines says, “Oy, now she is getting an Apple watch
.” And, darlings I am!
6. I put my ultimate concierge above all else.
Putting a husband or significant other first is giving back to yourself. So many mothers and grandmothers put their adult children, grandchildren or careers before the most important person in their lives. When you put your best friend before yourself, your children or your grands, you are giving back to yourself. It is the feeling of devoted love. And, darlings, nothing beats love.
Add yourself to the list of your charities. Pay yourself. Start a new shoot on your bloom and be sure to give back to beautiful you.
How do you make yourself a priority in your life? What practices do you use to give back to yourself? Share your ideas in the comments below or on Facebook.
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