You may be wondering why “give back” is a step in the quest for Passionate Self Care; it seems contradictory. But you see, I am not asking you to give back as a selfless act but because it can do so much for you.
The #1 factor for happiness is service to others. In his groundbreaking book Stumbling on Happiness, Harvard Professor Dan Gilbert writes that human beings are abysmal at predicting what will make them happy or unhappy.
Undisputed, however, in all the research on happiness is that service to others is guaranteed to make one happy. When we give back our efforts are rewarded in ways we cannot even begin to imagine. Therefore, acts of service are the greatest gifts you can give to yourself.
In spite of this, most of us come to this “giving back” approach kicking and screaming because we cannot imagine that it could be that simple. Or we think we have to go out of our way to give back—volunteer at a soup kitchen or give money we don’t have to charity. While both those things would certainly qualify, I’m a big believer that charity begins at home. If each of us were to adopt “giving back” as our modus of operandi, think of what could change.
Best-selling author Dr. Wayne Dyer points out that kindness toward someone is its own reward and has a ripple effect beyond compare. The person for whom you do a kind deed feels good. You feel good. And anyone who sees your thoughtful act feels good as well! Think of how much joy you could feel and spread in just one day through kindness
This is the twelfth installment in my series on Passionate Self Care. Go to http://silverspeaks.com/blogs/ for related articles.
Rituals are keys to Passionate Self Care. Let me give you an example, I feel wonderful when I take the time to perform the ritual of developing my action plan. I call it a ritual because it has a set pattern of components: (1) reviewing my in box, my list of action items and my emails; (2) deciding which I need or want to tackle today; (3) writing my plan; and (4) deciding which to do first.
After years of trying to find the right “formula” for this ritual, I stumbled on a relatively inexpensive online test for the Kolbe “A” Index (www.Kolbe.com). The Kolbe analyzes your natural work style. After reviewing my results, I came to understand that if I develop my plan at the beginning of the work day, I get bogged down in details and it kills my enthusiasm. Instead, I develop my plan the night before so I can dive into action the moment I start work. It’s amazing what a difference one adjustment to a ritual can make.
How many grouchy or distracted people have you heard say, “I’ll be okay after my first cup of coffee”? Admittedly, the caffeine helps but the ritual of coffee is every bit as much of an energy boost. It’s usually the skipping of the ritual that has thrown them off, not the lack of caffeine.
There are rituals we depend on and rituals we’d like to develop. To exercise Passionate Self Care in your life look for rituals you want to start incorporating until they become routine. Some of the best places to look for opportunities for ritual development are in the areas around which you feel guilty. A few of mine are:
Can you see the opportunities for rituals?
There are also rituals we love. We don’t feel guilty if we don’t do them but we feel SO MUCH BETTER when we do:
Rituals give life a certain continuity, which most of us crave. They make us feel more grounded. That’s why you see professional athletes who perform the same ritual every time they begin the game. Maybe it’s superstition, or maybe they know it works.
In a world where change is constant, rituals are a way for us to feel as if we are in control.
Rituals are very comforting and the more comfortable we are, the more we attract things that are a match to that feeling. I’ve noticed, for example, that when I take the time to perform the ritual of putting together my action plan, my work goes very smoothly. It can be no other way because I’m feeling good and in control. Events and circumstances that match those feelings are the only ones I will attract. That is how the Law of Attraction works: you get more of what you focus on.
So what rituals would you like to put into place in your life? What will make you more comfortable each day and give you more of a feeling of being in control? Start today, as soon as you finish reading this.
One of the biggest steps toward Passionate Self Care: Develop rituals that make you feel good, and practice them every day.
This month begins a series of blogs focused on Passionate Self-Care. This phrase often brings a smile of embarrassment to faces because most of us consider ourselves failures in this arena.
Sure, we devote time to self-care but it is generally based on negative rewards instead of the positive actions that make up passionate self-care. In other words, instead of taking an exhilarating walk after dinner, we settle down to watch Wheel of Fortune, usually with some sort of high calorie drink or snack in hand.
What brings this to mind are the myriad news reports on the high cost of health care and the ensuing crisis for aging Baby Boomers. As I listen to this conversation with interest, I’ve realized that what I haven’t been hearing is much of anything about patient responsibility. Where does self-care fit into all this?
If you bought a house and did nothing to keep it up over a 5-year period, would you expect your insurance company to pay for repairs? They would deny such a claim saying it was neglect, not damage from an outside force such as fire or wind. Yet, we bring our sad, neglected bodies to our doctors or our sad, neglected psyches to psychologists and psychiatrists and expect them to give us a magic pill.
We want pills or surgery to fix what we systematically destroy through complacency.
Passionate self-care starts with the premise that you are at least as worthy of daily care as your house, your car, your children, your boss, or your clients.
Just as you would look at a messy house and say, “It’s time to clean this up,” it’s equally important to pay attention to an ache in your body and say, “It’s time to start taking care of this.” This requires a change in behavior and change requires conscious effort.
I’ve earned the right to talk about this because I spent the first part of my life going to doctors and therapists trying to get them to “fix” me. They helped, that is a fact, but I took no responsibility for having gotten that way in the first place. I sat in the dentist’s chair for example acting bewildered when told I had a cavity. The fact that I only brushed my teeth once a day and poorly at that seemed beside the point. Isn’t fluoride in the water supposed to prevent cavities? I chose to be a victim.
One of the more important things I’ve learned in my conscious effort to move from victim to victor is that, no matter what happens to me, I had a part in it and it’s important to take responsibility for whatever it was. Now, if I were in an earthquake, do I have a part in that? The surprising answer is “Yes” – I’m responsible for how I respond. I can be a victim or a victor and that’s the choice we each have in every situation.
Where are you currently behaving as a victim and how can you transform into a victor? Taking ownership for your life is very freeing and it’s an important component of self-care.
I don’t know about you but I’d really rather NOT be one of those old folks who goes to the doctor with muscles atrophied from lack of use saying, “I can’t understand why I’m so TIRED all the time. Can you give me something?”
We all have a small, active child inside of us who JUST WANTS US TO MOVE!!!! As you get more physically active, you will almost hear the child inside of you yelling, “Whoopee! We’re finally moving!!!” I’ve come to realize that most of my aches and pains, physical and mental, were sent by that impatient child, trying to get my attention!
Take five minutes, right now, and make a list of all the “upkeep” sorts of things you’ve done over the past month for: your car, your home, your clothing, your pets, your children, or other people. Now think what life would be like if you put yourself at the top of the list.
“That’s so selfish!” you might cry. And I say, “Yes, it is, and that is a good thing.” I don’t know when the concept of putting ourselves first got to be so negative. I suspect it was from people who wanted us to put them first so they taught us that self-care is bad.
When we practice passionate self-care, we accomplish several things:
The most important thing that happens when we practice passionate self-care is that we are happier and proud of ourselves. And the Law of Attraction says, “You attract what you are.” The happier you are and the more empowered you feel, the more situations that match those feelings come to you. And that is the ultimate in Passionate Self-Care.