Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world. ” – Lucille Ball
Returning from Atlanta and Homecoming this weekend back into grad school life was somewhat difficult. While kicking it with my friends all of my responsibilities were put on hold. The only goal in mind was to have a good homecoming break, not necessarily a productive one. When arriving back to Boston, my to-do list was very long. From readings to group projects, to presentation deadlines, there was so much to do. As Monday morning rolled around, I knew that I had to up my game 150% to have a productive week.
At the commencement of my week, my activities included laundry, reading and lots of studying. On Monday morning I also wrote a blog entitled, YIKES! I UGLY CRIED DURING HOMECOMING TAILGATE. The post did very impressive numbers and shot to #3 spot on my most read blog posts of all time in just two short days. Many people had shared it on Facebook, tweeted out insights about what stood out to them and most notably, began reaching out to me. This week I received a plethora of messages inquiring about how to start a blog, write a book, etc. It was overwhelming. Randomly, at the same time, I got requests to edit resumes and write cover letters for individuals who needed help getting a job. Again, it was overwhelming.
In the midst of my anxiety and feeling heavy as all these requests filled my inboxes, I got still. I reflected on what this situation was trying to teach me. I pondered on whether I should respond, why should I help these individuals and what this all meant.
After minutes of reflection, I began ignoring messages left and right. Swiping delete to texts, putting my phone on Do Not Disturb and going offline on Facebook. It dawned on me that it is okay to put myself first, say nothing at all or even say, “No.”
My unresponsiveness was empowering and saying “NO” to random requests brought me to some conclusions that I must share.
I Can’t Pour From An Empty Glass
The best gift we can give to others is the best versions of ourselves. When we show up in the world in a way that is full, refreshed and confident, it inspires others. For me, I hate when I see someone on a Monday morning, I ask them how they’re doing and they instantly begin responding with words that are disempowering. “I’m tired.” or “It’s Monday.” or “I only got four hours last night I need coffee.”
That energy of lack and insufficiency is transferable and makes me feel like I’ve lost the day. I do my best to show up each day, full of life and love. “My cup runneth over” as Psalms 23 says. I have so much; I can give to others. Before I leave the house, I make sure to fill myself up to take on the day. If I were to give all of myself to others, to their tasks and agendas, I would be doing myself a disservice. To live an effective life we have to take care of ourselves first before we begin taking on the needs of others.
Generosity Must Be Earned
Yes, I built this website on my own. Of course, I write every word that saturates the pages of my books and blogs. I, in fact, can write the hell out of a resume. (Literally…I’m pretty good at it) With that said, that doesn’t mean I have to give my time, talents and energy to all that ask. One of my favorite biblical scriptures is Matthew 7:6 that states,
“Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” (NIV)
The most sacred asset we each possess is time. What I have come to learn is that we have to be very selective as to what we give our time. I want to give my time to my family and friends. I want to be a servant to those that have shown up for me when I needed them; the ones who have earned it.
Giving Must Be Intentional
In one of my favorite books, “The 7 Spiritual Laws of Success” Deepak Chopra explains what he calls, The Universal Law of Intention. In the book, he states that,
Intention is the starting point of every dream. It is the creative power that fulfills all of our needs, whether for money, relationships, spiritual awakening, or love.Everything that happens in the universe begins with intention. When I decide to buy a birthday present, wiggle my toes, or call a friend, it all starts with intention.
Intention is a powerful concept that I could write twenty articles about. For the sake of this lesson, I’ll spare you and just state, intention is important. Every action, thought, or desire we have has an intention. Acknowledging and assessing intentions is a life-changing practice.
When individuals ask for my time, energy or resources, I have come to a place of self-awareness where I can begin asking myself what my intention is. If I were to say yes would it be because:
I want this person to think that I’m nice.
Do I want to come across as having it all together?
Am I giving to this situation to serve my ego?
What is my intention?
When giving in any situation, the intention must be positive and serve both parties.
We are allowed to say NO to anything that doesn’t serve us. We cannot pour from an empty glass because that is unfair to everyone including ourselves. When giving it is imperative to give to those that have earned it. Doing so is self-care and generosity done correctly. In whatever situation, to take care of ourselves we have to understand why we are giving and who does it serve.
After coming to these conclusions, I feel more self-aware and empowered. I will be saying NO to a lot more tasks and requests. Conversely, I will also be giving more consciously and intentionally.
I hope that after reading this blog, you decide to join me in this practice of self-care and intentional living.
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