When I ask myself that question, I always come up with plenty of emotion for myself. I have always believed that unless I truly love myself first, I cannot love another they way they should be loved. Please don’t think that I have become totally Zen about living, but I genuinely believe that in one’s emotional account, deposits of affection and respect need to go there first before you can proceed to distribute dividends to anyone else.
This is not conceit; this is self-preservation.
I also believe that love and respect go hand in hand. And so the reason for this post will soon become abundantly clear. In the past few months I have allowed myself to become a bystander in my own professional life. I have allowed others to make decisions for me, I have allowed others to lead me rather than guide me and I have taken a very much ‘let’s wait and see what happens’ attitude. Anyone who knows me would compare me to a ‘bull in a china shop’ when it comes to vocalizing what I feel, what I want and what I need, so this recent behavior is truly atypical for me. I have struggled with trying to understand it in myself and I think I have finally determined what has led to this change in my persona. My change was due to fear of the unknown. Let me explain:
In trying to navigate through the roads of Corporate America today, one has to be very careful whose toes you step on. There are millions of people out of work and those of us who are working, want and need (at least I do) to keep our jobs. When you work for someone else, you always leave a little of yourself behind. When the balance of who you are, who you leave behind and who is left becomes disproportionate, this is an exercise of disrespect. And, when the trials of your professional life creep into your personal life, this is an exercise of self-disrespect.
In short, I have joined the gym of humility and reality and embarked on a very much unwanted obstacle course through this track of disrespect. I have given my ego the greatest, most defining workout and I am reaping all of the negative rewards, many of which I will disclose for you now.
I have depleted my emotional account: Because I am passionate about things, I have invested too much emotion in a situation that clearly does not merit my attention. In doing so, I have slowly absconded from the emotional resources I so fervently rely on to get me through my days. This stops today. Investment in me begins again immediately.
I have ignored my treadmill: Since my emotional account is depleted, my energy levels are low. When my energy levels are low, I don’t go visit my friendly treadmill who allows me to go to places unknown and lets my mind wander to the pages of my future blog posts. No more. As soon as this post is published, it is me, my sneakers, my Reebok 3750 Treadmill and my iPad off to conquer the no-distance miles through the roads of creative thought and imagination.
I have forgotten myself: By forgetting who I am and what I can accomplish, I have allowed my weaker self to be the waking self in my life. Today, he goes away and I go on the lookout for me. My waking self is a vibrant, productive, creative, funny, love-filled being and he is taking the spotlight again. Sorry weakling, but your assignment is over. Maybe I will let you out next time I catch a bad cold.
So now I’m off. I’m still scared. My energy is still low. And my emotional account is almost at the point of being overdrawn. But I’m getting on the treadmill today and I will do it again tomorrow and Monday and the day after and the day after. Somewhere in my no-distance travels is the me I know. As soon as I run into him, I will tell him to come live his life because I’m tired of doing it for him.