The more we have given to ourselves, the more we have to give to others. When we find that place within ourselves that is giving, we begin to create an outward flow. Giving to others comes not from a sense of sacrifice, self-righteousness, or spirituality, but for the pure pleasure of it because it’s fun. Giving can only come from a full, loving space. –Shakti Gawain
How do you feel when someone gives you something with lots of conditions attached to it? Here, take this, they may say, but now you owe me. This type of action isn’t coming from a loving space, but from a selfish one, and the people who give in this way definitely aren’t people who have given freely to themselves. In fact, their need for return on their “gift” means that they probably neglect themselves on a very regular basis.
We’ve all heard the saying that you can’t love others until you love yourself, and it’s just as true that you can’t give freely to others until you’re willing to give freely to yourself. If you always have to rationalize everything you do for yourself, you’re not giving freely, and you’re not able to take from yourself freely, either.
Many people neglect themselves because they feel that doing things for themselves is selfish. They feel that if they neglect themselves, they’re able to help others more. But if they aren’t taking care of themselves and their own needs, then where does their giving come from? Finances are a great example–how can you truly help me financially if your own finances aren’t in order? How can you help me emotionally if your own emotional needs haven’t been taken care of? How can you tell me to treat myself well if you don’t do the same for yourself? It makes little sense. . . .
Give yourself something that you need today. Take the time and make the effort to add something nice to your life–you do deserve it. And you’ll be much better at giving to others when you do practice giving to yourself first.
Questions to ponder:
1. Are you able to give to yourself unconditionally?
2. Why do so many of us think that doing things for ourselves is somehow “selfish”?
3. What is something that you’d really like to have that you haven’t been willing to give to yourself?
For further thought:
Giving and receiving are opposite sides of the same coin.
Receiving entails trust in our own value and our having respect for the giver. By receiving we reinforce the giver and are ourselves supported and affirmed by the gift. In this way, we participate in life’s goodness and assist in its flourishing. There are times in our lives when the only way we can give back is to receive. -Sallirae Henderson