I listeneded to one of my role models, Yoshimi Miyazaki, ask herself this question last week. It’s not every day you get to hear your role model talk really vulnerably about themselves, but I got this special privilege during a run-through of Six Seconds’ brand new online course, Unlocking EQ. This particular question that she shared with us has really changed my week, and I believe it can change yours, too.
Giving myself to others infuses life with purpose and connection. Focusing your goodwill on others will fill your emotional and spiritual tank in a way that being completely selfish never could (and here are the studies to prove it). But Yoshimi reminds us that we can’t forget about one of the most important beneficiaries of our kindness and love: ourselves.
Giving to myself is the fuel to enjoying my life. When I ask myself, “how can I give to myself?” I put myself in the driver’s seat of my life. When I ask myself this question, magical things happen. I put down my phone (unless it is to call someone I love). I let go of my obligations (unless they are absolutely necessary or give me joy). I take the lovelier route over the faster route. I do the things that matter a little more and the things that don’t a little less. What would your life look like if you prioritized giving to yourself?
Take a moment to close your eyes and focus on letting your various roles in life slip away. Let go, for just a few moments, of being a boss, parent, child, partner, etc. Let your only responsibility be to and for yourself. I promise those other roles will be waiting for you as soon as you finish this e-mail. From this place of centered stillness, ask yourself,
“How can I give to myself today?”
Write down an idea or two that you would like to do today. Then, ask yourself:
“How can I give to myself in this moment?”
Then do it. Give yourself a taste of what it is like to choose yourself in this moment.
Then, throughout the day today, ask yourself these questions. The next time you feel signals from your body of frustration or neglect, ask yourself, “How can I give to myself in this moment?” The answers don’t have to be big. Little shifts throughout your day can make the biggest overall difference.
Indulge in giving to yourself. Give yourself a special coffee. Give yourself an extra ten minutes tomorrow morning to meditate or journal. Give yourself a little stretch, a hug, a minute of silence, a chat with a dear friend. What can you give to yourself?
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“Lend yourself to others, but give yourself to yourself. -Michel de Montaigne”
Let the feeling of this exercise soak into your body. Label the emotion you are feeling, and notice where you feel it in your body.
What reliably gives you pure joy? How can you fit that into your life more often?
What would your life look like if you gave to yourself a little more?
What are some emotions you feel during the day that might be telling you to give to yourself?