Three Gifts You Should Give Yourself Every Single Day

With the gift-giving season in full swing, I thought I’d do a post about giving.  Not giving in the usually way, to loved ones, friends, charities or people in need, but giving to ourselves.  Yes, giving to yourself.  Being the giver and the recipient.  Sound selfish?  Well, it is.  You may already give yourself a few material things throughout the year, but the gifts I’m talking about giving can not be touched or bought with money.

Here are three invaluable gifts that you, no matter who you are, can afford to give to yourself every day.

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1.  Time

As the weeks go by, we work and push ourselves so that we can spend the weekend doing whatever we want.  Most people live for the weekends.  Two days to not have to do what someone else tells you.  Days to sleep in, catch a movie, go kayaking, go on a bike ride, go to a museum, read a book or whatever interests you.  That used to be me.  Work all week and when Friday came, I began living life the way I wanted.  I’d often found myself wondering why can’t I live the way I want during the week.  The ratio of days working to days off has never seemed fair to me.  So I decided that I was going to start making a conscious effort to take at least one hour per day and do whatever I want to do, even if that meant turning my phones off, shutting down the computer and getting away from loved ones.  Sixty whole minutes that belong to me.  If I want to catch up on recorded episodes of Shark Tank or The Vampire Diaries, I do that.  Going to the neighborhood park to walk and enjoy the weather are also activities I can do.  I may meet friends, workout, try something new, learn French or Mandarin Chinese or just write.   Some days I may just turn on my favorite songs and shake my tail feather for an hour.  It doesn’t matter what I do, as long as it is not related to my work and is exactly what I want to do for 3600 uninterrupted seconds.

In the beginning, it may be hard to take that time.  It was for me.  I felt guilty.  I’m a natural workaholic and I used to feel like I was wasting time if I wasn’t working or thinking about what work needed to be done.  Then, I realized that my life was all work and that freaked me out a bit.  All the things I wanted to do or desired to learn, I wasn’t doing.  Now, I’m learning so much and giving myself an allotted “Me Hour” has made me a better person.  I don’t feel as overwhelmed and stressed.  The work that I need to do doesn’t go away, but when I come back to it, I’m able to approach it with a clearer, more relaxed mind.

What are some things you would do every day with your “Me Hour”?

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2.  Love

Love is the most powerful four letter word.

Um…well…maybe there are some other powerful four letter words, but none of them make you feel as good as love.  Love is very subjective.  How you define love may be completely different than someone else, but in order to truly understand how we love others it starts with the love we have for ourselves.  When was the last time you wrote yourself a love letter?  When was the last time you told yourself “I love you”?  Sounds odd, right?  Let’s be real, most people don’t say it or write letters.  (Dear Me, You are the best thing in my life!  I love you girl!) You love yourself by taking care of your basic personal, emotional, physical and mental needs.  You give yourself positive affirmations and surround yourself with positivity. You can also love yourself by taking time to reflect on your good characteristics and be specific.  It’s in doing that, you may realize what you have to offer others in your life.  Sit down and make a list of all the things you love about yourself.  Seriously, do it.  Then find ways to love yourself more.  By the way, taking a “Me Hour” is a great way to show yourself some love.

A Few Things I Love About Me:

  • I love my freckles.
  • I love that I’m reliable and people can depend on me.
  • I love my honesty, although it gets me in trouble sometimes.
  • I love that I’m loyal.
  • I love my height.
  • I love that I can get along with anyone and have an open mind.
  • I also love challenges that cause me to learn and grow.

What do you love about yourself?  How can you give yourself more love?

3.  Happiness

Several years ago, I dated a guy that was constantly witnessing tragedy and people in bad situations.  Sadly a part of his job as a firefighter included dealing with death, as well as major property loss and he would share the sad stories of victims and their families.  However, he loved his job and he was a genuinely happy guy.   Every time we talked, we either started or ended the conversation with, “What made you smile today?”  It was awesome, because throughout the day, I found myself making note of all the things that brought me a little bit of cheer so I could share it with him.  I didn’t realize until much later that those “What made you smile today?” conversations were his way of choosing to be happy amidst all the agony and pain he saw as a result of his duties.  The world may always be unfair, people may lose loved ones and possessions, situations may often be less favorable than we’d like, but there are moments of happiness that we can and should focus on.

Happiness is a state of mind.  It is a choice.  Even on your worst day, you can be happy.  Don’t get me wrong, being happy is not always the easy choice.  We’re human.  There are times when life just sucks, but it helps to try to think of happy moments and shift your focus, even if it is just for a few minutes.

So, you wish you had more money, you didn’t get that client you were hoping for and you can think of a hundred and one things to complain about, but I have one question for you:

What made you smile today?

Giving time, love and happiness to our families, children, friends and jobs is almost second nature.  We do it willingly, often compromising our own needs and well being.  Many of the stresses and resentments we feel can begin to be addressed once we start making time to love ourselves and do things that make us happy.  We may even find that our relationships with others improve and our lives overall become more balanced.  Who doesn’t want a more balanced life?  Be a little selfish and give yourself time, love yourself and find happiness every day.

(Photos of my sister and I taken at a Smilebooth! at West Elm Austin during an event.)

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