A friend called the other day and complained about her husband’s lack of appreciation for all she does. This issue is not new. My friend has felt resentment all her life, from the time she was a child. She gives to everyone else out of a sense of duty, but in the quotient has forgotten the most important recipient—herself.
She grew up thinking that to do things for herself was selfish. Many of us can relate to that. However, if we don’t take care of us and bring things into our lives that give us joy—somewhere along the line, we are going to be angry and resentful for all we do, because others don’t reciprocate in the way we think they should.
Self-love is not selfish. It is love for the Creator’s handiwork. After all, something much vaster than we created us, and isn’t it our duty to take good care of that gift?
In looking at our journey, it is important to consider what brings us joy and happiness. It isn’t the big things that sustain and nourish us. It is the daily kindness to ourselves that creates a solid foundation so that we can give to others with love and gratitude in the giving. When our cup is so full that what we do takes nothing away from our essential well-being, it merely adds to our sense of joy.
Simple pleasures are important. For me it is a cup of tea in the afternoon, and going into the garden to marvel at the plants, or pluck weeds. This fills me with joy. I also take into consideration the child part of myself that is very strong. I get colored pens and pencils and draw or paint, and sometimes play at my keyboard. These things bring delight. They make my day enjoyable. There is work, and there is play. There is helping and giving to others, but always the gift of treating myself, too.
After talking, my friend determined that the one thing that brings her joy is her animals, for whom she has unconditional love. We discussed the possibility of her volunteering at the local humane society to bring her special gift to animals in need. She loved that idea. It was something special just for her.
So for each of us...what brings us joy? Let’s find it and do it!