The other day I was having an interesting conversation with a friend of mine about the art of giving.
Before I can start explaining what the conversation was about, I need to tell you about my childhood.
I was a child who always questioned. I questioned the teachers about almost everything they did at my French catholic school in suburb Tokyo. It annoyed the hell out of everyone and I was labeled a rebel. Some questions I asked were easy to be answered while some were not. Those “difficult” questions remained with me while I was growing up as my constant companion. No matter how hard I searched, there was one particular question that I could not find answer for. Do you want to guess what that question was?
“Why are we here for?”
Why are we born, learn, amass material things, love someone just to die in the end, relinquishing all of it? What is it that we are supposed to do in-between our first breath and our very last? Just what is the purpose in life for all of us???? Heavy question, I know. I was a serious child (then went all wild to the opposite end, settling around middle in the end.)
Realizing that the answer will not come from my school teachers or others, I started to study about lots of things like religion, philosophy, psychology and yoga. Then lo and behold, I found the answer!
One day after a yoga class, this conviction that is so certain inside me came washed over me. I realised that we are all here on this earth to serve, help and love others using our unique gift. The trick is to find your unique gift or “vocation”. It is normally related to something you simply LOVE. Anyway, how to find your unique gift will be a whole another article and some more so I will set this aside for the time being.
Ok. Let’s go back to the beginning. So my friend and I were discussing about the art of giving (serving, helping others, etc…). Even without clearly defining what your purpose is in life, we can certainly help others and quite frankly lots of us do (especially mothers). However, I often see people losing balance by giving too much of themselves. Giving is like pouring a cup of tea (or wine, whichever suits you best). You need to pour your tea in your cup first. Ok, I’ll choose wine. You need to pour wine in your glass first and fill your glass. Enjoy, savour, appreciate your glass. Then, only then give some to others to share. You can’t serve an empty glass to others hoping that they might enjoy. It is your responsibility to fill your glass before offering it to others.
Are you getting it? You need to take care of yourself BEFORE you can take care of others. No, it is not a selfish act. Is it selfish to love and appreciate others? Absolutely not! Apply the same philosophy to loving yourself. Taking care and appreciating yourself is not an egotistical behaviour. It is a requirement if you want to help others.
So go ahead and get that massage, read in bed alone, go for a long walk alone, have a glass of wine (or a cup of tea), light some candles and take a long bath with your favourite music on tonight. Do whatever it takes to fill you with energy and love. You deserve all the self pampering you can get!
Then with your battery fully charged, start sharing your light with others.