My Gift to Me

For many years in the past, when I have heard people saying that they bought somethings for themselves for Christmas that that was the height of Ego Arrogance.  I just didn’t see the point of giving yourself something. I buy what I need when I need it and it’s not necessary to have a special day to buy something for myself.

In truth though, I am learning that it is important to mark occasions such as one’s birthday and Christmas with a special gift. If I am giving gifts to others at those times, why not give myself something out of the ordinary? I am not talking about something that you would have bought anyway. Put at least as much thought into what you are getting yourself as you put into what you wish to buy for your best friend or spouse.

Why? Why should you gift yourself with something? Because you, better than anyone else know if you’ve been naughty or nice. You have put a great deal of effort into the past year and you deserve a treat that is out of the ordinary. We have been told it is better to give than receive, but I believe that we have to receive in order to give if there is to be a flow of positive energy. We live in a universe of abundance, so splurge a little and get yourself something that you deserve.

It’s a false sense of humility that says you don’t deserve a present. There’s no need to feel guilty about it. You know how hard you have worked the past year or so. You do deserve it. Nor should you thing that if you get yourself something, that it shouldn’t be anything too expensive. If it’s a gift for anyone, it has to mean something, cost is beside the point here; it should mean something for you whether it costs nothing or a thousand dollars.

Your gift to you doesn’t have to be a thing.  What about getting yourself a day at a spa, or a massage. Go for a day or two to a place that’s special to you. Have a meal out at a restaurant that you normally wouldn’t dine at. Buy yourself flowers or a plant that will give you months of pleasure every time you see it because it is a constant reminder that you are worthy. Yes, you do deserve it.

What does giving yourself a gift do for you? Gifting something to yourself is a tangible sign that you really do matter in this world that increasingly treats people like a robotic commodity. Self giving increases your self-esteem. It confirms that the universe is a place of plenty. And when you then give to others you give from a place of understanding and joy; your generosity and gratitude will bloom from this.

You need not shout it from the rooftops what you have given to yourself. If anyone asks you can say it’s from a Secret Santa or a close friend. Nothing more needs to be said if you don’t want to.

So enjoy your gift to yourself.  No, it’s not a guilty little pleasure, it’s a well deserved present from someone who appreciates how far you’ve come along in your journey.

Merry Christmas and Season Greetings to All.

flat lay photography of baubles and ornament

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Taking Stock

We´re almost at the half way point of December. Where did the year go? We had the same amount of time that we did lasts year. Everyone gets the same 24 hours each day, weeks and months go by, and suddenly we’re close to marking the end of another year. Regardless of whether or not you make New Year’s Resolutions, I believe it is important to take a yearly stock of where we are and put forth some intentions of where we want to go in the next.

Now is as good a time as any to do a yearly inventory. I can look back at the past year and see how far I have come. In what ways have I found gains in my life and where did I fail in being the person I wish to be. In doing so, I will find the areas of my life where I need to put forth more of a concerted effort to make changes.

If I am truly living my program of recovery then I am constantly changing and evolving. I am not the same person I was a year ago, or at least I hope not. I can only really know by doing that personal moral inventory again. Few business owners like to do a physical inventory of their business, but it is the only way they can truly calculate the exact state of the company. It is a check to see that what is written on paper, or in the computer, is in agreement with what is actually present. A physical inventory lets the owner know not only how the past year went but also how to plan for the next, develop strategies for coping with changes in trends and look to the future.

I have to do the same in my inventory. It is not about self recrimination and focus on failure. Rather it is an honest look at my state of affairs. Neither do I focus on how much I have accomplished. It is an even handed, humble look at who I am now and measuring that against who I was a year ago. In doing so I know where my weaknesses are, how I’ve fallen short in my program and how I can move forward for the next year to improve where I am in life.

It is very apparent to me that I need to work on self esteem. Early on in life I developed a false sense of humility and it is still a struggle to recognize my talents and successes. I still tend to focus on my failures and run the tapes over and over in my head of how I am not good enough. Good enough for who?

I am working on a plan to shift my focus for the next year. I will strive to keep in mind the small gains that I make. I will work to recognize when I am slipping into feelings of unworthiness and turn them around before they affect my mood or take me down the road of depression. I can’t control my thoughts, but I can control what I do with them. I do that by daily committing to my recovery program, by being vigilant and by focusing on accomplishments.

I’ve learned that if I am not changing then I am not living my program. I want to be a better person today than I was last year. I want to see improvements. I want to live life fully and on life’s terms. I accept that I have made many positive changes in this life and that I can work on other aspects of my character. I do this by taking the time now to see where I have come from and decide where I wish to go.

The Three E’s

I have a friend in recovery who, when he talks about the root of his problems and difficulties in life, says he can always trace them back to one of the three E’s: Ego, Envy and Entitlement. Whether it’s a problem with a coworker, or partner, how he’s feeling about a situation, or even how he’s been thinking about himself, he can always find one of the three as a key source to his approach to the situation.

Ego say that this is mine and you can’t have it. Envy says that what you have really should be mine. Entitlement tells me that it’s mine and I deserve it. Of course we can boil all three down to just the one: Ego; it’s all about me. What you have should be mine and you can’t have what I’ve got.

In an of itself Ego isn’t good or bad. It’s a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance. I can have an inflated sense of self, thinking I am better than another or I can have an inferior sense of who I am  When combined with the disease of addiction, or as I often hear it said, the desease of ‘more’, my sense of self is so great that everyone else is beneath me or I think the opposite where I feel I am as worthless as  whale dung on the ocean floor. Like so much else in life, it’s hard to find the balance between the extremes.

I can often find myself with the desire for what others have. I think that’s normal. It can help to motive me to change and move so that I too may share in what another has. But envy has no such desire to change. I want what you have, and I feel I’m entitled to have it. I don’t want to work for it, you should give it to me. Or, I have something and you can’t have it. As with ego, it can be inverted too where I have the feeling that I don’t deserve anything, and am worthy of nothing.

In recovery, like many other things, the trick is to find that elusive balance between the extremes. When it’s in balance, I have a sense of humility; the acceptance of who, where and what I am at this present moment. Balance is difficult to achieve. A mote of envy or a pinch of entitlement on either side can tip that balance one way or the other and start the slide down the scale and away from balance. I used to be blatantly unaware of the three E’s in my life.

Today I usually recognize when I am envious, arrogant or ego driven while I am in it, or shortly after the fact, and I can do something about it. Keeping the balance between need and desire is not easy because the river of life is full of turns and current and rapids that constantly test my sense of balance and threaten to tip me into the water. Staying in the moment helps me to deal with that which is at hand and keep myself afloat. With practice, finding the balance does get easier.

I am grateful.