I remember reading an article quite a few years back that was speaking on empowerment. In this article, the author was saying that to love oneself is to give oneself the “good egg” instead of the egg with the broken yoke. I remember being quite perplexed and somewhat taken aback by this. At that moment in time, my immediate thought was “Dang, that just sounds selfish to me! I always give the best to my people!” It was quite apparent I had no idea what the author was really trying to say. Decades passed and life threw me many lies, betrayals and pain. I set course to heal and man, how my mind and life changed.
After having done the work to heal my unworthiness, I began to see this piece in a whole different perspective. Let me explain…
I believe what the author was really trying to say, is that we should not reserve all our “good stuff” for others. When we always reserve the good stuff for others, we are forever emptying our cup and never refilling it for ourselves. Sometimes, it is we who needs/deserves the good stuff. A better empowered path is to give ourselves the good stuff (in this case love, honor, time, attention, respect) and when our cup is overflowing, we can then give even more fully to others.
I recently heard this quote from the wonderful Iyanla Vanzant who nailed it perfectly:
“My cup runneth over. What’s in the cup is mine and what overflows is for others. You can’t give to others if you are empty.”
Oftentimes, we may think we are doing the right thing by repeatedly giving and doing and servicing and running around for others, but in truth, we are leaving ourselves an empty vessel. We subconsciously believe that our loved ones will not love us if we fill ourselves up, when in fact, it is we who believe we are unlovable if we give to ourselves first. When we do these things without a fill-up for ourselves we can become exhausted, depressed, anxious, sad and unappreciated. No one person can ever truly give and be everything to everyone without draining the heck out of themselves and eventually waking up one day in the reality that life has passed them by with no dreams fulfilled and no true passion ignited to his/her soul’s purpose. We become an empty vessel living an empty life.
Learning to give to myself first – not in an excessive way – was truly a large and powerful step into my empowered life. I learned that my boundaries were vitally important to my peace and well-being. Where I once believed I had to give, give and give some more to my beloveds was replaced with, “I matter. And when I am fulfilled, I am a better mother, friend, lover, daughter and co-worker.” I learned very quickly, that the love I gave to myself enabled me to give an even more powerful and present love to others. I learned to rest when I needed rest, to exercise when I needed exercise and to say ‘No’ when the appropriate answer was ‘No’.
The shift in my behavior proved most interesting at first. I had to practically force myself to lay my boundaries and then I would figuratively peer around the corner waiting to receive the fall-out of my new-found behavior. Luckily for me, most of my family gave me very little resistance; however, there were a few that did not like my “new way” and came at me fairly strong with manipulation and guilt. Immediately the doormat in me, would cringe and my thoughts would immediately go to “See! You’re selfish!” However… I would not set up camp there. Through conscious practice of slowing my mind and allowing for processing (both theirs and mine), I began to notice that my boundaries were accepted and the resistance eventually ceased. Consequently and with great awe, I noticed how my heart began to expand, peace and passion engulfed my life and I now show up an even better Kristen than ever before.
Love yourself first and the rest falls into place.
PS You might wonder if now I give the “good egg” to myself? The answer is: I scramble my eggs. :)