Are you done your Christmas shopping yet? Me neither. (And for those who said yes, well done! And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, this post really isn’t about the holiday anyway, it’s about much more, so please keep reading!).
I was thinking about my gift list this morning and realized that there was one important name that was left off the list. How on Earth could I forget to include the most important person in my life? Unfortunately it can happen a lot. And not just during the holidays. Sometimes it’s in the middle of a busy week. After a morning of helping to get my two boys out the door for school, followed by a nonstop day in virtual meetings at my home office, some days I barely break to use the washroom, let alone have lunch. My mind skips busily along and forgets to pause on this important person. I’m more worried about meeting deadlines, expectations and needs of others at the time.
Who is the most important person in my life?
It’s not my kids or my husband. It’s not my parents or siblings or extended family. Nor is it my friends. It’s not my colleagues at work either. Although, in some ways, it’s all of these people bundled into one, because this person wouldn’t be who they are without all of those people.
Of course, it’s me.
And by saying that I’m not being selfish. In fact, quite the opposite. Because if I treat myself as the most important person in my life, then I will end up feeling and acting my best. I will set boundaries and ensure my needs are met. When that happens, I will be able to treat everyone in my life with love, compassion, and respect. This is because I am fulfilled on my own and not looking to others to meet any unmet needs or fill any voids.
I am my most important person because I control my thoughts, which impact my feelings, which then influence my actions and behaviour. This affects every part of my life, including my relationships.
Now, what to get?
Hmm, where do I start? It’s been a tough year, so I feel like it should be something really special. It could be something to wear, read, or play. Maybe something to decorate or use around my house. I hear lots of people love their air fryers. What would be a real treat? Saying the word treat takes me back to an epiphany I had one day at work.
It was during a lunch break. A colleague had arranged for a yoga instructor to teach a class every other Friday at noon. I had eagerly signed up, realizing that my meeting schedule was pretty hectic but hoping that I could find the time to take this break. Even though I had only done yoga a handful of times, I really enjoyed it. The first Friday came along, and as expected I had a busy schedule that day. I had to re-arrange meetings so I could make it work. I scurried from my last appointment of the morning, got changed into my yoga gear in the washroom, found the conference room that was being used as a temporary studio for the hour, and laid out my mat ready to go.
Julia was the instructor, and with her soothing, calm voice and gentle demeanour, she softly guided us through each pose. She encouraged us to tune in to our bodies and our breathing. To let go of our thoughts and just be there in that moment. The difference between how I felt going in (stressed, with shallow breathing and inundated with thoughts of work and to-do lists) and going out (calm, relaxed, ready to tackle my next task while enjoying banter with my colleagues) was remarkable. We moved our bodies and cleared our minds. I felt rested and amazing. When I left the room I thought to myself, “What a treat!”
A real treat
I felt like I had given myself a real treat that day. One that doesn’t come with regrets or feelings of guilt. I had given my mind and body a gift that ended up benefiting me the rest of my day. I was able to smoothly handle the various challenges that arose with a newfound ease. That day, I decided I would change my perception of what a treat is. While I like to indulge in short term, pleasurable treats sometimes (mmm, chocolate), to me now, a real treat is something that gives me joy and lasts without regrets. A warm cup of tea, meditation, yoga, a nap, chatting with my friends, a good book, playing with my boys . . .
So while I haven’t landed on exactly what I will get myself this Christmas, and I’m sure I’ll indulge in some other treats, my main gifts will be real treats.
What will you give yourself this holiday season?