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Bruce Bartlett
Bruce Bartlett
20 Nov 2015
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Comment

I just happened to be rereading a book I wrote (titled "Single File," for those of you who haven't done the same) and found myself lingering at the section "Be Good to Yourself." This is an issue dear to my heart because to this day, the stereotype persists of the unmarried as self-obsessed. To be sure, there is much unraveling of the antiquated (and totally wrong) view to be done. If you agree that happiness (the long-lasting, heartwarming, visceral glow) comes from choices and is neither a gift nor a blessing for the few, you're hereby invited to linger with me and discover for yourself what it is I mean by being good to oneself. Naturally, you'll have differences with me as we move along — quite possibly contradictions — but I hope you'll have some of your own additions. So let's start looking at ways to be good to you.

—Make beginning efforts at some different approaches to reach what it is you want from life. Yours, that is.

—Don't get stuck doing things the same way you've always done them. Life is a cafeteria with many serving lines; don't hesitate to change lines when one isn't delivering for you.

—Make resolutions twice a year, not just annually. (Maybe monthly?)

—On your birthday, ring in your very personal new year by nudging yourself to honor the promises you made so earnestly on the last day of December.

—Always, always reserve some time for yourself.

—Refresh your thinking by setting aside the same time each day for personal prayer, however you express it.

We all need time to commune with our inner self, and it needs to be silent and private. Close the door; turn off all sources of noise; and do so without apology. This quiet time makes you a better person in all your roles.

Surprised? Not what you expected? There will be specific do's and don'ts at another time, I promise. The aim right now is to help you lose the wrongheaded idea that being good to oneself is selfish. Believe me, self-interest is totally different! The goal of the pointers is to help make you less of a martyr (please note, single parents), less of a frump (for those who've given up on the externals) and, most importantly, less dependent.

The delicious irony? Treating yourself right actually makes you less selfish — because the better nourished you are the more you have to give to others. And as you gain satisfaction from your own efforts, it's only logical that you'll develop greater faith in life itself, in God as you see him, in yourself. And that self-confidence brings with it a more optimistic view. The reasoning for that makes sense: The more valuable you believe yourself to be the more discriminating you'll be. You'll have higher standards for yourself in all parts of your life. Best of all, you'll realize that moderation is true sophistication. Be wise for all you love, including for your own self. You know I wish it to you.

Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at susan@single-file.com.

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