In this excerpt from Let That Sh*t Go (Collins, 2019), authors Nina Purewal (above) and Kate Petriw remind us that when we take the time to love ourselves, and fill our own cup first, loosening our grip and going with the flow will become easier and easier. We’ll be more patient with ourselves and others, less attached to outcomes, and more available for the beautiful ins and outs of our lives.
It’s Sunday morning. You’re still lying in bed, but your mind is racing through the day’s to-do list: I need to make breakfast, hit the grocery store, take the dry cleaning in, buy some essential oils for Alicia’s birthday gift, make basketball-themed-peanut-free-gluten-free cupcakes for Joey’s bake sale tomorrow, help him finish that school project, tidy the house, and whip up something for dinner. THEN I can put my feet up and dip into that wine. Sound familiar? So, here’s a question for you: Why are you always last?
What if, instead, you started your jam-packed day with a trip to the local café, where you grab a latte and read a stellar book for thirty minutes before you hit the grocery store? How do you think the rest of your day would go? Instead of waking up and jumping straight into anxious mode, you’d be doing something small for yourself that would have a positive impact on the rest of your day. Self-love is not about escaping the things you need to do or even pushing them off until the next week. On this particular Sunday, you are still going to tackle your to-do list; you’re just going to give yourself a sweet little breather first.
Grabbing that bit of me time will get you into a calm and happy zone, which will have a trickle-down effect on the rest of your day. You’ll be much better able to go with the flow if the dry cleaner happens to be closed or there’s no coconut flour left and you need to look up a quinoa-flour cupcake recipe, instead. And you might be less inclined to snap at Joey in the afternoon, when he decides to practice his drumming. Why? Because you gave yourself some love before giving it to everyone else.
That was a single-day sample. Imagine if you made sure your cup of love was full on an ongoing basis? You wouldn’t constantly be trying to give and give and give while running on empty. Trying to give when your cup has only a few drops left leaves you frustrated, exhausted, and fed the f*** up. You become annoyed at the world at the drop of a hat. But when you make sure you fill your cup before anyone else’s, you’ll feel lighter and happier—and you’ll approach life from a place of wanting to give, not having to give.
If you don’t have time for a thirty-minute coffee break to start your day, try a different approach. Fill your cup by doing little things for yourself throughout the day—like taking a few belly breaths in the morning before anyone wakes up, calling your bestie on the way to work for a quick chat, or buying yourself some essential oils, too. Self-love is selfless because the universe is a happier place when you love yourself first.