Week 3 of 4. How’s your homework coming along? A number of weeks back we started our journey together around understanding and embracing self-care and learning to see self-care as not being selfish; indeed self-care is the cornerstone, the very foundation of contribution to others. (links to week 1 and 2 at end)
I use the acronym POYOOMF – Put On Your Own Oxygen Mask First as the device from which to hang the concept – you know the score; before every flight we are advised in the case of emergency, we must put on our own oxygen masks first before attending to those around us – failure to do so could be catastrophic to ourselves as well as others.
So we must get better at giving ourselves permission to put on our own oxygen masks first – that in itself is an interesting phrase – give ourselves permission – what does that say to you?
It’s all about replenishment – we simply cannot give what we do not have. This mini-series where we talk of the four pillars of self-care; Health, Wealth, Relationships and Spirit explores each through the common theme of needing to fill our own tanks first.
Speaking with a friend recently we discussed that point in our lives when, God willing, we are looking back from the vantage point of our eightieth birthdays and seeing in hindsight those things that were actually most important – relationships likely to be high among the list, with material gain likely to feature further down as we approach the end-game. As my mother often reminds us, “There are no pockets in shrouds, you can’t take it with you.”
What will matter I believe is the difference we have made in others’ lives – that, along with the few bob, we will get to leave behind when the time comes to pop our clogs, kick our bucket and begin our daisy-pushing-up apprenticeship! We will do this through relationships.
And the first of those, arguably the most important relationship, is the relationship you have with you! If you don’t like yourself, who else is going to? If you don’t enjoy your own company, why would anyone else? So it really is important that we get clear on what is right for us and that we get comfortable in our own skins. This is what will give us the best opportunity of being of service to others.
Another friend of mine lost her dad this year and whilst she is devastated by the loss, she repeats often the advice he left her; “Have no regrets. Don’t waste your time on people you don’t like.” Sage advice indeed.
Time is the one resource that is both infinite and finite simultaneously. Time, of itself is infinite – yours and my allotments are not – they are finite – our time will come – at some point it will be game over – so on the basis that our time is finite, my friend’s dad’s advice is sheer wisdom – no regrets, don’t waste time on people you don’t like.
We can always get more money, we can always work to improve our quality of life, but we cannot add one second to our existence. My sister, Carol Gibney, used say, “If you worry, you’ll die, if you don’t worry, you’ll still die, so why worry?”
On the basis that time is running short, we really must figure out what relationships are most important to us. And then we’ve got to do something about it, relationships, good relationships don’t happen by accident, they take work.
In thinking through this topic I was trying to figure out what advice I might offer around relationships – how do you choose where to invest your precious time? And I struggled with it for a few days, but then it came to me – at the end of the day, the relationships we should invest in are those relationships with people who replenish us. And that includes ourselves – the most important replenishing relationship should be personal.
We need to be kinder to ourselves first and foremost, then hang around with people who are kind to us and we need to be kind to them in return.
The starting point is we need to identify those people in our lives, who, after we leave their company, they leave us feeling better about ourselves – they are replenishers.
And then we absolutely must walk away from people who deplete us, those relationship vampires, who suck the very life, the very will to live, out of us.
And you know who I’m talking about – you can probably picture a few replenishers and a few depleters in your mind’s eye. Who replenishes you without even trying? Who depletes you without even trying? (although some depleters are professionals and try very hard!)
They say that all of us light up a room; some when we enter, some when we leave! Which one are you? I’ve got to ask myself, which one am I? (depends on the room at times, let’s be honest?)
We need to get better at relationships, including and beginning with the relationship with ourselves; we need to be kinder to ourselves and one way to do that is to give ourselves permission (there’s that phrase again) to hang around with people that are kind to us, people who replenish us; who fill our tank and we need to stay away from the people who, perhaps unbeknownst to themselves, suck the very marrow from our existence.
If you and I want to be of service to others then we need to forge better relationships with the replenishers out there, and as a starting point we need to form a better relationship with ourselves first – we need POYOOMF.
In conclusion we are asking the two questions, the Big Rock question and the One Thing question:
- What is your Big Rock around relationships as they relate to self-care? What area of relationships do you know you need to work on? Do you need to be kinder to yourself? Mend a bridge? Tackle an issue? Take a step away from a depleter? Or take a step towards a replenisher? What is it for you? Write it down.
- What One Thing could you do this week that would have the biggest positive impact on that Big Rock? Write that down. Then commit to doing it.
Thank you for thinking with me through this third installment in our four-part mini-series around Self-Care. Remember in the days ahead to Put On Your Own Oxygen Mask First and I’ll see you here this time next week for Part 4, Spirit.
Bye for now.
MORE. Did you enjoy that? Fancy a sip of some of my recent “Coffee with Colm” Blog posts:
- Part 2. Self Care Is Not Selfish – This week we focus on WEALTH (or POYOOMF Part 2 of 4) – click here.
- Part 1 Self Care Is Not Selfish – This week we focus on HEALTH (or POYOOMF Part 1 of 4) – click here.
- In Pursuit Of Happiness. Happiness is derived from Contribution (or the link between Contribution and Self-Care) – click here.
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