With every act of self-care your authentic self gets stronger, and the critical, fearful mind gets weaker. Every act of self-care is a powerful declaration: I am on my side, I am on my side, each day I am more and more on my own side.Susan Weiss Berry
It’s so easy to look after the needs of others, but it can be really hard to do the same for ourselves. Like my friend Maggie who knew what she wanted for Christmas, but fully expected that her husband would get her something else. Maggie told me she hoped her husband would buy her the book she wanted as a gift. It wasn’t just any book. It was a limited edition art book, by an artist Maggie has long admired.
‘Why not buy it for yourself?’ I asked her.
There was a long pause. ‘What?’ Maggie responded. ‘Buy my own book?’
‘Sure,’ I said. ‘You buy yourself other stuff. Why not buy yourself the book you want?’
She went quiet and then she looked me in the eye. ‘Because,’ she paused, ‘and this is dumb… if he really loved me he’d know I want that book.’
‘What if he doesn’t buy you the book? Then would you buy it for yourself?’
‘NO,’ Maggie shot back. ‘It’s too self-indulgent.’
This from a woman who works a sixty-hour week, and who is always there for her family and friends. A woman who regularly buys treats and gifts for others and thinks nothing of it. A woman who is independent and smart and strong ,and deeply loved by her family.
‘Do you wait for him to buy you flowers too?’ I asked, already knowing the answer. ‘You know you could buy yourself flowers. You could buy your own books. You could get yourself the things you like. It doesn’t mean your family don’t love you. And you know what? No-one would begrudge you. In fact, I’m sure no-one would even notice.’
Maggie started laughing. ‘Well, this has all gotten a bit revolutionary! Alright, I’ll buy my own damn book and my own damn flowers!’
She messaged me later and sent me photos. The book Maggie had wanted was nestled beside a beautiful bowl of flowers on the kitchen table. There was another small vase of flowers beside her bed. ‘Thank you,’ her text read. ‘Feels good! Why didn’t I do this years ago?’
I get it. Once, I was just like Maggie. I kept waiting for other people to notice my needs, but I never did anything about them for myself. Now? I practice better self-care, and part of that is making sure I am capable of meeting my own needs.
What can you do this week to meet your needs, to give yourself joy, to do or have something that is meaningful to you?
You’re worth it. Life’s short, and precious, so make the most of it!
Love, hugs, sweet-smelling blooms and Christmas books, Nicole xx
PS – Got a suggestion for a great book? I am totally up for some new ones to read over the holidays, and I always love getting your recommendations! Let me know in the comments 😊🙏💕