When we indulge ourselves with a massage, or take a nap in the afternoon, we usually talk about it as “treating ourselves” to a luxury. I would like to look a little deeper into this language of “treating ourselves”.
We have a habit of thinking that taking a break from constant driving is equivalent to overindulging ourselves. Especially when we are going through a transition—from training for a triathlon to changing careers, from going through a divorce to watching the kids leave home—we are in particular need of treating ourselves.
But we continue to think of it as indulgence, rather that seeing the words more clearly for what they describe. Treating ourselves is literally about how we treat ourselves everyday. Why should a massage or a nap be a luxury? The evidence of living proves that each day is an ebb and flow of high and low energy, yet we persist in pretending that we can “give 110%”.
The notion of 110% is so silly I can barely get myself to mention it. But I do, because it is, again, how we talk to each other. Language is so powerful. All I’ve got to give is what I have right now. Forcing myself to push beyond my limits will only injure me. The balance, of course, is letting myself slide when I have more to give.
This is why treating ourselves well is so important. When we pay attention to our energy, examine why it is where it is, and resist judgment, we have a much better chance of channeling it positively.
Some days positive channeling of energy is taking a nap, letting things lie. Other days, channeling energy is avoiding foods that zap our energy and taking a walk or a bike ride instead. This includes being forgiving of ourselves, even when we are on a transtion path, for not being gung-ho every minute of every day.
It’s simply human to have low and high zones of energy. Denying it makes us less resilient, because we become less tolerant of slow moments. This creates a false sense of advantage, that comes crashing down on us when we injure ourselves running too hard, or stay up too late prepping for a meeting, only to find ourselves empty at the critical moment of need.
Treating ourselves means paying attention. I won’t tell you it’s easy. In fact, it’s one more of those tricks in life that is very simple, but not so easy because it bucks the social trend. This is about finding a pace that, on average, is steady. I say on average, because we all have push moments. But if we don’t balance them with retreat moments, the balance we each seek goes out of our reach.
Where is your balance today? Is it time to push or to retreat? Listen, to your body, to your instinct, to your gut. The message is there. Just treat yourself to hearing it and following its wisdom.