Pause for a moment.
Take a deep breath.
Relax your shoulders.
Loosen your jaw.
I have a simple question for you today. It’s an easy question to ask. But I want you to spend a little time considering something much harder, too. The answer.
What is the question? It’s simple:
What do you need right now?
Forget about the long to-do list, the washing up, the incessant demands from others about their wants, their needs, their requests.
What is it that would most soothe your soul?
What is it that would bring you calm? Bring you peace? Bring you tranquility as the seas of small day-to-day stresses rage around you?
I tend to be a person who’s relatively easy-going about most things. I’m pretty agreeable unless there’s something I really don’t want to do.
Pizza or Indian? I don’t mind.
This film or that film? Whichever.
Stay in or go out? Either’s fine.
Sometimes that means I bend to others’ needs before my own, which most of the time isn’t an issue. I really don’t mind.
But there are times when I forget to do that check, to look a little deeper inside myself, to ensure it really is fine. I respond too quickly, almost automatically.
When I Forgot To Ask
The other week, I had an evening where I had two invitations from people I enjoy spending time with. And it was only the clash that made me get off autopilot and look inside, where I realised that that day, I didn’t really want to do anything social.
I was tired, I’d had some treatment for a shoulder injury which had worn me down, I was emotional because of an argument with a family member, and all I wanted to do was snuggle on my bed and watch Criminal Minds.
I was kinda grumpy.
But the real desire that I had, to do something which made no demands on me at all, wasn’t something that had come to mind straight away, because most of the time I get cross with myself for doing that, and I’m happier being productive and busy. I like to use my time judiciously, and make the most of what I have, which usually means ‘doing’ of some kind, whether that’s on my own or with others. There’s very little downtime in my life in the main.
But just because I’m one way most of the time, doesn’t mean I am that way all of the time.
I needed some time to myself, where I wasn’t ‘doing’. Some off-time.
I turned down the invitations and put on my PJs.
And something that had been tight inside me loosened.
Your Mission, Should You Choose to Accept It
My challenge to you today is to look a little deeper inside.
Don’t move through the world on autopilot.
While you might feel you don’t have the time for such an indulgence, if you don’t look after yourself, nourish yourself, you’ll never be able to be the best version of yourself.
Sometimes in order to have enough inside you to give to other people, you need to put your own life-jacket on first.
Pause, and take a breath.
What do you, all of you – your emotions, physical body, thinking brain – want, or even need you to do?
Do you need to be alone? With others? Do you need a hug? Need touch?
Do you need rest? Healthy food? Exercise? To dance?
Do you need to journal, meditate or just be in silence?
Do you need to read, watch mindless television, or listen to music?
Or do you just need to sit and do nothing for a while, with no demands, no requests, no calls on your time?
So go on, ask yourself now.
What do you need?