Be good to yourself

4th March 2017

Whenever I would leave my Mother after a visit, she would wave and say “Be good to yourself” I had not heard this saying used as a farewell before.

I wonder how many of us are really good to ourselves?

What words come to mind when we think about being good to ourselves?

Pamper and treat, springs to my mind.

Pamper, for me, means doing something for myself solely. Perhaps taking a longer than usual soak in the bath with candles and a glass of wine. To be honest I haven’t done that in 10 ten years. But that is what springs to mind when I think of pamper.

Treat – To treat myself would often be buying an item for the house, sometimes it would be a chocolate bar or maybe a book .

What springs to mind when you say you are going to be good to yourself? Now it cannot be something that you do every two weeks. Some people get a manicure, pedicure and or hair done every few weeks. This is the norm, so you can’t use that as your pampering or treat. This has to be something extra and perhaps different from the norm.

I have failed miserably at this task, but I am still learning. Pamper and treat are the only two things that sprung to my mind, what does that say about me? In Health and Strength I mentioned how hard it was for me to relax, and how long it took me to resonate with people who snuggled up on the sofa in the evening. I also mention how uneasy I felt just sitting in my armchair and putting my feet up.

A lot of women, like me, can not tell you, the last time they treated themselves well, or the last time they felt pampered. This blog is not about your family treating you better. It’s about how you treat yourself. Let’s start – How do you treat yourself? Do you treat yourself good, badly, poorly or great? Chances are most of you do not even think that you are an individual that needs to be looked after.

I would like to use Abraham Harold Maslow’s paper 1943 – A theory of Human Motivation. (Which is often called Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs) to help us find out just how great or poorly we treat ourselves. Marslow states that people are motivated to achieve certain needs, and that human beings have five main needs: 

1) Biological and Physiological needs

2) Safety and Security needs

3) Belonging and love needs

4) Esteem/Psychological needs

5) Self actualization.

Fulfilling our basic need my not be as easy as I have jotted them down here. In my pursuit to feed, clothe and keep my children safe (See ‘What’s in your Bubble’) I took jobs in which my immediate managers treated me badly – My studies (another way of feeding my children and an aim of keeping a roof over their heads) had me so stressed it landed me in hospital. Are you killing yourself in order to fulfill your basic needs? Just a thought. How are you treating your body? You know, with trying to fulfill your biological needs? Is it stressed, over worked, do you have a medical condition? Maybe you just have corns on your feet. In your pursuit of surviving you may be barely living. Stop for a moment and consider how you are treating yourself. In the grand scheme of things, what are you sacrificing to fulfill what are very basic needs? Is the pay, journey or the way you are treated at work, worth it for the basic need of a pay check? Consider your options. Could you work closer to home? What would you lose if you worked less hours? Before you say that you would lose part of your pay. Consider the fact that if you worked three days instead of five days, you would save on two days worth of petrol or fares, lunches, coffee at the coffee shop, you would even save on shoe leather. Work smarter not harder. Consider your options, need help. Would working less help you financially? Maybe it could. Would working less outside the home give you less stress? Maybe it could. Give a thought to your body! Ask it, if it needs a rest from stress. Some of us shovel food down it, as if it is a bottomless pit, with no consideration to whether it’s hungry or not. Some of us pour liquids down it in excess, which in turn damages other parts of it. The need to breath doesn’t get a look in when some of us inhale substances that are not fit for human consumption. All of this body abuse and we haven’t got off the first step of Maslow’s ladder of needs!! Be good to yourself. Think about your body and what it needs.

Arbraham Maslows paper (1943) state that once the physiological needs are  satisfied. I would like to add, if you don’t kill yourself in the process, you move up to the safety rank of the ladder. Here Maslow suggest that the need for safety and security then needs to be fulfilled. We all have a need for safety and security. You would not have though so if you saw me leaving work at 11.30pm (a second job) waiting for a bus, then walking through a subway/underpass alone, in-order to get home. 

You wouldn’t think safety and security was a need I had, if you saw me work a night shift from 7.45pm – 8am then start my day job at 8.30am – 2pm Sleeping at 3pm sometimes 3.30pm and raising at 7pm to get to work for 7.45pm. Not to mention the house work, shopping, sometimes cooking for the household and not eating.  Where was safety and security in my mind when I was leaving my teenagers to watch my younger children at nights, while I go to the City of London to work in a Homeless shelter for women with mental health issues, some of whom were violent. You know what...It was ONLY the grace of God, that I didn’t get hurt in, at or to and from my many work places. All of this done in the name of building some sort of security for my children. Surely if I got sick, hurt or worst it would cancel out all that hard work.

My Safety didn’t factor in my pursuit of securing a roof over their heads and the security of staying in a ‘home’ for longer than two years. Looking back, what price did I put on my safety? I am not sure it was worth it. What dangers are you facing just to remain ‘secure’?  Is staying in an abusive relationship really worth it?Are you staying, in-order to keep the family together? If you are not safe then you and your family are not The 24hr freephone National Domestic Violence Helpline is available on 0808 2000 247 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for England.

Safety should never be sacrificed for what you may class as security. Take a look around your life. Maslow states that Safety and Security are NEEDS (PURAL) to be fulfilled. How many times have we driven tired? That’s not being good to yourself or other road users. How many times have we gone without eating because there wasn’t time, as we just had to keep on keeping on? In the vain of trying to secure a better future for our family. Half the time, its only you and your God that knows the lengths you’ve gone to, in-order to maintain the front of being alright, Ok or coping. Look around you. Are you being safe? Are you keeping yourself safe? Is what you are trying to secure worth your safety or the safety of those around you? Are you really being good to yourself? What would your friends and family say, if they knew what you do to get ahead? Would they say that you are being good to yourself?

Having satisfied yourself that your safety and security needs are being met, One moves into the Friends and Family Zone. Here one should really feel comfortable surrounded by all the people who love you. Having read ‘Who’s holding you back’, ‘Knowing when to walk away’ or ‘What are you holding onto, that you should have let go of years ago’ You will be familiar with my take on toxic friendships and family members. Anyone that dis-honor, dis-respect or causes you to dis-trust should be cause for concern. 

Maslow called the friends and family Zone Love/Belonging – Here you should feel loved and or have a sense of belonging. Anything outside of these feelings of being loved and belonging should alert you to the massive red flag that is waving. Please take note my need for securing a roof over my childrens’ head, feed and clothe them, had me putting my safety at risk. Surely this was all done in the name of LOVE! Look at what you call doing it for ‘love’ or being ‘loved’ and in-order to ‘belong’. Remember love does not hurt and being a third wheel is not ‘belonging’. Your intuition will tell you what feels good  and what does not. 

I believe that when Marslow spoke about this level he was talking about being a part of a familiar group. Whether this is an intimate relationship or through friendships. Knowing that you share the same common bond with a person or group of people can be warming and gives a sense of belonging. However, staying in a group, friendship or intimate relationship with anyone who treats you less than is always a cause for concern.

As we grow and move through the different levels of needs, we find ourselves gaining self-esteem. We are able to note our achievements, we grow in confidence and we gain the respect of others. We notice these abilities, traits and achievements through our interactions with others. This is one of Maslow’ Esteem/ Psychological needs. Imagine if you will, a child who has been nurtured love and cared for by his/her parents. S/he grow, is healthy and has many friends. Into adulthood s/he gets a steady comfortable job. After meeting someone special they become a partnership and have a child, both are happy and this child enters a loving home. You would say that this person may feel a sense of accomplishment. S/he has a loving safe home, in which there is a sense of belonging. Gaining the respect of his/her peers, friends and family. That scenario is great. That person rose through Maslows levels with some ease, their child entering on the first level into a loving home. Many people remain at this point for the rest of their lives. They are not seeking food and water. They feel safe and secure, they have built their family unit, with others around them who care and love them. Money is not a huge issue as they have it coming in and may have been promoted to a higher post at work. Thus reinforcing their self esteem, raising their confidence as their abilities are being recongnised. They have gained the respect of their peers and have a sense of achievement. When we reach this stage, if you are anything like me, you do the best you can to set an example to everyone you encounter. Note that, it is not only your workplace that recognises your abilities and traits, but the world around you too, you’ll be surprised who sees you. (But that’s for a different blog)  I have tried to be a living example of what a decent, caring, hard working human being should look like. Respect should always be given, whether it is earned or not, as one aims to be the best person they can be.

Now, hopefully when you reach that stage, life doesn’t batter you too much. I found myself and my children back looking to secure our basic need for safety and security every few years. My saving grace has always been a trust in God and the love of my children. It has enabled me to get up every time I fell and climb Maslow ladder to where I feel I am today. Working on my creativity, following my passion and helping others. Maslows fifth stage is based on people seeking fulfillment and change through personal growth. This stage is called Self actualization – Here people are those who are fulfilled, they have found their passion or purpose in life and are doing all they are capable of. Self actualization according to Maslow - 'refers to the person’s desire for self-fulfillment, namely, to the tendency for him to become actualized in what he is potentially. The specific form that these needs will take will of course vary greatly from person to person. In one individual it may take the form of the desire to be an ideal mother, in another it may be expressed athletically, and in still another it may be expressed in painting pictures or in inventions' (Maslow, 1943, p. 382–383).

One cannot decide to follow their passion or be the best they can be if they are homeless or hungry. You cannot be your full potential if you are living in a nice house, but your safety and or your security is threatened. To reach Maslow’s fifth stage I had to leave my job, I had no choice, but leave my house as I had received an eviction notice, which turned out to be a God sent as I was able to find serenity in a place where I can read, write and mentor others. I found my happy. I was good to myself and treated myself to quiet. That is quiet from (nasty) work colleagues, quite from ‘friends’ that only had loud, horrid things to say about others. I learnt to tolerate family members at a distant, knowing that it will be quiet soon. I procured my own time, insisting that I have my space to try and be the best I can be, in the hope of maximising my potential.

I want this for you too, but can you see the amount of work that needs to be done, in-order to get you where you are the best you can be?  You need to start by being good to yourself. You would need to treat your body with respect, not pouring unwanted unneeded liquids down its throat. You would need not to work it to death, in the guises of doing it for the family. You would need to stop and take note of your environment, you would need to ask yourself whether you are sacrificing one important entity for another equally important entity and weight up the overall cost of losing one! You would need to use your intuition to work out whether you are actually in the in-crowd or just a spare wheel. Your gut will tell you whether the love you think you are feeling is genuine. It doesn’t make any sense to me to be hanging around ANYONE YES ANYONE who makes me feel less than. Another saying we have in my house is “If you feel uncomfortable.....LEAVE” . One cannot climb Moslow’s ladder feeling unsafe.

Finding and following one’s passion is at the top of Maslow Theory of Human Motivation. You must be good to yourself, your body and others in order to get there. 

Take a look at Maslow's expanded 

Theory of Human Motivation.

Look Out For My Next Blog


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Love Live holistically .