I just happened to be reading my book ("Single File," for you in Readerland who haven't yet done the same) and found myself lingering on the "Be Good to Yourself" pages. This is an issue dear to my heart because, to this day, the stereotype lingers of the unmarried as utterly selfish and navel-watching. To be sure, there's much unraveling of old-school and totally incorrect thinking to be accomplished.
If you agree that happiness — the long-lasting, heartwarming visceral glow — is the result of positive actions and is neither a gift nor a blessing for the very few, you're hereby invited to linger on this page and discover for yourself my take on being good to oneself. You'll no doubt disagree sometimes, but I hope you'll add some of your own thoughts to the conversation here. Let's begin. Be good to yourself...
—By trying different approaches to reaching what it is that your heart desires. Don't get stuck in the same-same. Life's cafeteria has many different serving lines. Don't be timid about moving to another if one of them isn't getting the results you want. Flexibility is crucial in all parts of life.
—By making resolutions twice a year, not only once. Do this by adding your birthday to New Year's Day, and ring in your personal new year by reminding yourself to honor the promises you made so earnestly on the last evening of December.
—By always reserving time for yourself. Do this by setting aside moments (preferably at the same time each day) for personal prayer and meditation, however you express it. You need time to get in touch with your deeper self, and it needs to be in silence and in private. Shut the bedroom door. Turn off every kind of noise. And do it all without apology. This quiet time makes you a better person in all your roles.
Not exactly what you expected in "Single FiIe," right? Well, honestly, the goal of today's column is to help us all get over the mistaken notion that being good to oneself is selfish. What you and I are huddling about is self-interest, and believe me, that's poles apart from selfishness! The pointers here will make you less of a martyr (single parents, please note), less dowdy (for those who've given up finding time for the externals) and, most importantly, less dependent.
Delicious irony: Treating yourself right actually makes you less selfish, because the better "fed" you are the more you have to give — and the more you want to give. And as you gain satisfaction from your own efforts, it's only logical that you'll have greater faith in yourself, in life and in God. Being wise for your own benefit is my version of being good to yourself. I wish it to you.
DEAR READERS: We've uncovered a treasure-trove of "Single File" paperbacks — in perfect condition, ready to read. Send $15 and your address to: Susan Deitz, C/O Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. I'll send you a signed copy.
Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at [email protected]