Now there's a real thought. In an age when the most common maladies and social disarray stems from ego-centrism, we need to be good to ourselves. If Narcissus were to be reincarnated into the 1990's, he would fall down cowering in some dark corner to fend the overwhelming mutated plague which sprung from his mild case of self-absorbtion. The last thing we really need in the Age of 'Gimme or I'll Sue You' is some birdbrain going around preaching "Be good to yourself because you deserve it!" Did it ever occur to the pop-psychologist that perhaps Stalin, Hitler, and Saddam Hussein were being good to themselves? Probably not.
Let's take a look at some dynamics
1) I wake up in the morning feeling blue.
2) I drink a cup of coffee and reminisce about the day before and realize that I acted rather crappy to that woman at the checkout in the grocery. Sure, she missed three items and miscounted the change but did she really need to be called an "idiot" in public? Perhaps she had run out of coffee that morning or maybe her cat had been run over right before work; maybe she had a touch of the flu. Nobody gained anything from my response to her obvious ineptitude. She wasn't helped by it, and I didn't feel better for it. But I got my revenge, didn't I?
3) I went to bed last night, and I didn't review the day. I didn't have to. I didn't do anything of importance except for tell off a poor teller at the grocery. Not much of a day.
4) After my coffee, I decide to act a little different today. I need something that makes me feel like I've done something of value, something of worth. Not like yesterday where all I managed to do is embarrass some poor checkout at the store. I'll treat myself good today. I'll go do laundry, and listen to the walkman and read.
[Later at the laundrymat]
5) I'm listening to some music and
reading while the bed sheets are whirring around the machine over there.
There is an 8 year old laundry pest (you know, the kid who has nothing
to do at the laundry but bug people?) looking at me. "Gods, here
6) Thoughts flash in my mind: a) "Go away kid; ya bother me!" b) an embarrassed look on the teller's face from yesterday.
7) "Hey, mister, can you give me a quarter," says the squeaky 8 year old voice. I always respected WC Fields for being able to be a jerk in public.
8) I tried to ignore him, but the third time he asked, he had that same look the teller had after I told her what I thought of her abilities on the job at Furr's. "I'm not sure, but if you help me fold my socks, I'll find you one" I heard myself say.
The kid didn't really help much. I think he just wanted someone to talk to. His parents were working (or so he said), and he didn't have brothers or sisters.
I went to bed feeling OK that night. I felt as though I had done something of value. It cost me though: 25¢ and an ear full of kid talk. The laundry got done (and folded , no thanks to the kid although he did help me with those nasty fitted sheets that always take 2 people).
I don't think a person's life is ever improved by "being good to oneself." I think lives are almost always improved, however, by stopping oneself from being an asshole to everyone (including oneself).
I once saw the millstream at LaCueva, NM, a little town north of here (but still within sight of Hermit's Peak). The ghost who lives there in the water showed me that if the floodgate is closed off above the mill pond, the pond dries up and the mill doesn't run; and, if shut off below, the pond fills up and becomes stagnant and murky with algae and the mill doesn't run. Give and take is required. People are like that, too: weirdly, all we have to do is give, and as we do, we are left somewhat empty for fresh stuff to move in. Notice that the same doesn't hold true when we take–if we take, we have to give away at the same rate that we are taking or we risk clogging ourselves up. When we do it right, the mill wheels of our lives turn.
Complete sacrifice is stupid–our lives dry up. Hoarding is also stupid–our lives become stagnant. Participation is the key, I think. At least I think that is what the ghost was telling me (she probably lined that kid up at the laundrymat, too).
I heard a fellow the other day say that "You should learn to be good to youself–practice by taking yourself to a movie!" I would like to add "Be polite to the cashier doling out the buttered popcorn, you'll sleep better for it!"