Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Power of Appreciating and Praising Yourself

My mother always says,

"It's a poor duck that doesn't praise its own pond."

When she would say that, I would look at her as if she had absolutely lost her mind, especially when I was a teenager. I'd be pouring out the woes of my teenage angst and she'd cutover and start talking about a duck. It exasperated me to no end. The fact of the matter is, I was usually putting myself down when she would say this to me. I may not have changed my feelings about myself right then and there, but I closed my mouth. It has definitely stayed with me.

There is great wisdom in the guise of these seemingly simple words. Today, I love this saying and I think it is so cute. What this saying means is that if you don't appreciate what you have, more profoundly, who you are, then it's a sad situation. You are poor in spirit and you are poor in possessions. I could go on. I think you get the meaning: appreciate who you are.

When you internalize the idea of appreciating who you are and what you have and live it, that creates great power in your life. How?

Well, let's see. Too often, women are conditioned to nuture those around them and use left over time for themselves-if you have any. What we are not conditioned to do is to nurture ourselves. We celebrate and admire women who extend themselves beyond their precious reserves, who continue to give and give and give until they themselves have nothing left. On the surface, that person appears selfless and giving.

If you dig deeper, my opinion is that the person is selfish. You see, when you over extend yourself to care for others and you neglect your own needs ALL the time, you compromise your physical health, your physical beauty and your inner balance.

We all have to do that some time. If you do it all the time, my suggestion is stop, take a step back and look around you. You may be heading down a path of no return. Ask yourself why? If you are giving all of YOU away, is that because you feel that you have less value?

If you are giving all of you away, is that because you want to hold someone in debt to you, so that he or she will stay with you, or do the same for you- someday in return? Don't count on it. That's giving something to get something. Is that what you are doing?

Sometimes, you need to take time out for yourself. You need those two hours to do your hair. Maybe your hair can look fine with 15 minutes, but perhaps your Spirit enjoys the indulgence, the attention and the 'me' time you give yourself during those precious two hours.

There is a saying that I often hear about or have read. Many times, a male is the one referencing it or quoting it. "I want to live my life to the fullest. I want to slide into the end of my life with a battered beat up body indicating that I lived my life to the fullest [for me]."

That's not the exact quote but I hope it sounds familiar. I mention it because although these men talk about being beat up and tired, they DEFINITELY are not advocating getting this way by taking care of and giving their all to SOMEBODY else.

Do you know that if you exhaust all of your reserves and have nothing left for you that you open yourself up to illness? How ironic would that be to be the 'selfless' caretaker of all those around you and end up somebody else's burden in the future? Instead of being able to enjoy the time you have finally cut out and allotted for yourself, you'll be needing someone to reach out and carry you along- not by choice but because your own body just can't do it for you anymore.

Today, take time out for yourself. It's a simple, free way to appreciate yourself. Ensure that when you give care and support to others that you know WHY you do it. If it is for return, to give in order to get, at least be honest with yourself about it. Work on it and learn to give self-lessly, with no expected return.

Self deprecation, putting yourself down, is not admirable or selfless. Accept that you are fabulous. That's harder to do, to keep it in balance, without going to the other side, which is conceit. Praise the good things about yourself, appreciate who you are, what you have and where you are at. That doesn't mean you don't continue to strive for future goals of who you want to be and what you want to have. If somebody has an issue with you expressing and appreciating who you are, it just might be that he or she has a problem with him or herself. Don't let that stop you.

Pamper yourself by giving yourself the attention you need. It's a daily thing, not a yearly activity. Feed your body good food, ask for what you need. When you are supercharged and ready to go, the power in your arm that you use to lift others doubles in strength. You can do more for others without resentment, without misgivings or without anger. You know why? Because you will already have what you need. That's because you have given it to yourself. Now, if that's not power, I don't know what it is.

Not only do you want to be that duck that praises its own pond, you want to be that duck that turns into a beautiful swan. A beautiful swan is an ugly duckling because it wasn't aware of who it really was. Appreciation has the power to take you from ugly to beautiful in the blink of an eye. Utilize the power that you have been endowed with and beautify yourselves bit by bit.