The Importance of Cherishing Myself

Tasha full f aceOn the rare occasions when I have been without anyone to cook for except myself I found that I had very little interest in making my own meals. While I truly love to cook for my friends and my family, in my experience, it brings me been little to no pleasure to cook just for me. Lately, I haven’t had to deal with that problem, and while I hope I won’t have to in the future, if I do, I will try to think differently. This attitude may be why most if not all of the retirement and assisted living communities have food plans included in their fees, as well as dining rooms that serve up to three meals a day.

For most of us cherishing ourselves is not easy. It’s not something that comes naturally, and there’s a reason for that. While because they don’t know much about being an individual, very young children are naturally unselfish, once they learn to think of themselves as “me” most of their parents begin teaching them to share. “Sharing is caring” becomes a kind of guidance with which to approach both giving and doing. This is all very well until we begin to leave ourselves out of the sharing equation. It is vital to remember ourselves when we share. I am happier and more content when I include myself in my decisions and actions concerning others.

What can make us forget to do that is that often it feels better to give than to receive. Giving can even make us feel a bit superior to the recipient, a kind of pat on the head. It can also incline us to wish to be thanked or even to be given back to in some way. If or when we do not get a return on our gift, we may grow resentful. This then can create a feeling of martyrdom or even bitterness as in: “I did thus and such for them and got nothing back,” or “Look what I gave them and what did they give me?!”

If we cherish others at our own expense and forget to cherish ourselves, we do both the recipient and ourselves a disservice. It is not difficult to think of ways to cherish ourselves. However given that it may feel more virtuous to focus on others, it may also be easier to do so. Yet small acts on our own behalf can make a big difference. For instance: remembering to buy and prepare a kind of tea I like along with the one that Stephen prefers starts my morning happily. Remembering to ask him to join me in doing tasks or walking enhances my day.

My own small acts of kindness to myself, like taking the time to sit with my feet up and read a fun book for at least an hour a day, or occasionally stopping what I am doing and going out on the porch for a breath of fresh air make me feel good. I also appreciate it when I remember to do a bit of stretching or some exercise. When I discover a new pair of socks at my favorite online provider, or a pretty but unnecessary item of clothing in our local thrift store, I no longer feel guilty giving this to myself. Sharing means giving equally, not depriving oneself. If I encounter any guilt when I do something for me, I remind myself that I deserve to be cherished, and I smile and tell myself, “I love you too.”

The God Connection by Tasha Halpert

Joy I recently read an article in a national magazine about belief in God. The article was filled with all sorts of statistics concerning what percentage of which age groups believed in a supreme being, and other things having to do with religion in the United States. It did not divide belief along the lines of particular denominations or faiths. The article pertained mainly to simple belief in God.

While the article said that a great number of people do indeed believe in God, it also spoke of and about many who had issues with how they felt the Supreme Being ought to act. I was struck by the number of people that felt there was something wrong if God does not answer their prayers in the affirmative.

Many who were quoted in the article felt that a person they loved and prayed for ought to have survived, and that God should insure that. The common thread is, “Why did God allow that illness, accident, crime, and so on?” However perhaps they have forgotten about free will.

Praying to preserve someone’s life is a natural act, however it might not be in the best interests of that person to survive or to be healed. As well, if it is a case of God allowing something to happen it seems to me that God’s vision might be more accurate, being long range and unlimited. There are many factors that go into what occurs and why.

Some questioned why terrible things like the holocaust or plagues took place without God’s interference. Yet doesn’t a good parent let the children figure it out for themselves? Making things easy may not be in our best interests. Humanity as a whole must learn for itself what and what not to do, and we learn by doing. In addition because we are eternal souls, we surely survive in another form. While we may grieve a personal loss, there is no permanent death.

My personal perception of God is that of a benign force within all of creation, connected with each of us. God speaks to us through this connection in many ways. Listening is not always easy, especially when the answer is not what we wish to hear What can get in the way of my connection with God are my impatience, uncertainly and doubt. I do find that the more I listen within, the better I connect. Then I feel the personhood of God as a sense of all pervading love. As I allow the awareness of that force to guide me I am a happier more effective person.

Learning this has been a gradual process that has taken me most of my life. As a child I felt a strong connection to God. As I grew up I became more involved in life and that connection, while still there, was not as obvious to me. Eventually after much exploration and study I have come to appreciate that connection in a new way, and I realize that it is the same connection I have always had. However now I am more aware of and more reliant upon it, and it is a source of great joy.