who’s your number one?

This past weekend in the Enrichment Program we were talking about how hard it is to put ourselves first. To say I’m important.

How hard it is to say This is what I need. This is what I want.

there are things I have to do

Yes, there are. And people who rely on you. Most likely a job, maybe parents, maybe kids, maybe pets, probably a house plant.

I’m not suggesting that we all go around in our own bubbles taking care of only ourselves.

I am suggesting that every day we could aim to make at least one decision that is ours alone.

No to a lunch date.
Yes to a lunch date.
Go to bed 30 minutes early.
Take 15 minutes of alone time.
Take a walk.
Take a bath.
Let someone else make dinner.
Or clean up after dinner.
Put the headphones on and listen to your favorite song.
Or a meditation.

Do the thing you love that you’ve put off because there is no time.

boundaries

I have a friend who has really good boundaries. She says No kindly, but without skipping a beat. She is one of the most loving and supportive people I know, yet she rarely compromises what works for her to accommodate someone else.

It’s also about priorities. My friend is very clear that her health and sanity come first. If she isn’t healthy and sane, how can she be there for her family or friends?

Now, in certain circles you might call my friend selfish. You might wonder how her loved ones feel about her taking care of her own needs, sometimes first.

I can tell you that I feel a great sense of permission to be honest with my friend, and I make commitments to her that feel realistic for me. She has taught me not to over-promise or over-pack my day.

what you think of me is none of my business

Of course, some of our decisions are made from a wholeheartedly selfless place. We want to be of service. For many of us though, my guess is that our motivation is often based on what someone else might think.

How will it look if the house is a wreck?
What will people think if I don’t go to this party?
Everyone will think I’m weak and lazy if I take a lot of breaks in yoga class.

Friends, dare to disappoint. I know we’ve been trained to care about what others think of us (maybe more than how we think of ourselves). But we learned this and we can unlearn it.

The mantra

I am increasing my tolerance for other
people’s disappointment

has been incredibly helpful for me.

I love the idea of taking it a step further and proclaiming that

What you think of me is none of my business.

I just don’t need to know. It doesn’t need to matter.

.

So what is it that you’ve been longing for? What thing do keep saying I wish I could just… ?

Call a sitter. Call a house cleaner. Tell the people you live with you’re going on a walk. They’ll be there when you get back.

And you’ll feel great for having done something for yourself.

photo credit
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11 Responses to “who’s your number one?”


  1. 1 madyoga September 28, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    Hiring a housekeeper has been one of the hardest, most long time coming decisions I’ve made, that I still keep justifying in my head to people, as though some imaginary someone is arguing with me!

    Preach it, sister.

  2. 2 Miss P. September 29, 2011 at 8:49 am

    I’ve approached this subject from a different angle, the advices angle. Generally if you approach someone with a problem you are having they will jump right in and tell you how to solve it. People close to you will even do this if they perceive a problem when you talk about your life. So in my head I’ve adopted a “no advice unless I ask for it” policy. This has helped me to no end, in being clear about my needs and in separating my emotional stuff from other peoples emotional stuff. I’m not quite at the not caring stage with respect to what others think, but I’m getting there.

    Also sometimes it’s also not possible to do everything we think needs to be done to please. Like cleaning the house and baking a cake for the parents visit.

    • 3 blogasana October 3, 2011 at 10:19 pm

      what a great perspective. and a challenging practice! i imagine that it helps to name it… to be clear about your intention before getting into conversation. thanks so much for offering this…

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  1. 1 Letting go and other news « Another Academic Bites the Dust Trackback on September 28, 2011 at 6:33 pm
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