There is this gift that has been given to me. Well, you know how it is, at a certain age we choose to begin giving some gifts to ourselves. Those gifts are in many ways a huge part of growing up. What does one have to do with the other?
Seems to be, one of the things about “growing up” just now being talked about with deserved reverence is having a happy brain means having a productive and efficient one as well. Then we all immediately ask, “How do we get one of those?” Question of the era. There isn’t a simple answer, but there can be simple beginnings. If any of my audience is questioning where to start, mental and emotional self-care is a great place to begin. And in honor of keeping it simple, I’ll focus for a moment on two things around this.
First, being kind to ourselves feels like an intrinsic need, but as we all grow up a doing for other people mode of thinking gains a lot of power via reinforcement, and sorta pushes self-help, self-care to the side. We get love for helping—cornerstone of society. Yet, the minds which occupy a society will decide its health. When we forget to do for ourselves the kindnesses we give to others, we are neglecting ourselves. How often does neglect work out? It’s not a goal getter; I’ll give you that hint.
Secondly, the concept “gift” often takes the form of an item. I contend that these are the least effective gifts to ourselves, fun, but we are talking happiness here. There is danger in attaching happiness to stuff. I avoid it generally speaking, as this is far to important a behavior to get wrong.
I have recently been exposed to the idiom, “library of positive memories.” I worked in a library and in fact love libraries of all shapes and sizes. The library of positive memories makes me think of Daniel Kahnaman’s work on the difference between the experiencing-self and remembering-self. The only way to build your own library of positive memories is to observe moment to moment the wonder of the lives around you as they interact with your own.
Nobody can give this to you. You have to give it to yourself. And it is something almost everyone can do. This is the basis of Lovingkindness. It begins and ends with ourselves everyday, every moment.
There has been, as usual, lots of negativity in the media. Shootings, presidential race, corruption and injustice, and then all of the regular stuff, such as typhoons. Yeah! Hurricanes and shit! If we want to know how to fix any of these problems we must first be healthy, each unto their own. Then we open the space to truly care for others because we, ourselves, are the healthy cornerstone for our societies.
The gift I gave to myself today is a memory, observations of loved ones maturing, growing. I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity and the mind to hold onto the experience of seeing this morning, of feeling so much joy before the sun had even risen. Emotional self-care, “Check.” Okay, what’s next?