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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Always Live By The Silver Rule

 The Silver Rule? Don't you mean the Golden Rule? The one that says, "Do unto others as you would have done unto you? Nope. I mean The Silver Rule.  It's a rule that I now follow that took me a really long time to understand.
The Silver Rule: Do unto yourself as you would do unto others.
That's right. The Silver Rule is about you. How do you treat yourself? I know a lot of you, and if you are reading my blog, you are probably not the selfish type. You are probably the kind who follows the Golden Rule to the tee all the time. And you are probably the type who gives endlessly to the people who you love and are frequently disappointed by the lack of reciprocation on the part of others. Well, the Golden Rule is golden. It is a beautiful notion, and an ideology that leads to lovely self sacrifice and kind loving behavior towards others. The problem is, that may of us who live by the Golden Rule give ALL of our energy to the service of others and completely neglect our own needs. We overeat, over shop, over work, over drink, deny compliments,  and go without so others can have whatever they want. We give SO much that there is nothing left for ourselves. 
Do you feel like this? 
We have no energy left, and we feel empty because we are out of balance. So what do we do? We try to fill the void we have left behind with other things. We are taught that food is love and comfort, so we overeat. We are so drained of energy, we pump veins with stimulants (caffeine, nicotine, and sometimes other more dangerous drugs). We are so out of touch with our inner joy that we dull our senses with alcohol or marijuana, because as adults we are told the only way to have fun is to be inebriated. We have given so much to our friends and family that we have nothing left for ourselves. We labor under the delusion that to live be a "good" person means that we give everything we have to others and that in our humility we are SO unimportant that we don't deserve the same level of love we give to others. Do you say these things to people?
 I don't need anything, thanks.
Just your love is enough.
It's okay, you're happiness is more important to me.
I just want everyone I love to be happy.

   All of the above statements indicate that you love everyone BUT the one person who really matters. YOU. 

If I just described you, you are completely out of balance. You may suffer from anxiety. You may be overweight. You may be on the cusp of alcoholism. Maybe you suffer from constant illness or headaches. Maybe you are deeply in debt because you want to give everyone in your family everything they could possibly imagine might bring them happiness. You are working so hard to bring happiness to others, you are creating a void within yourself that needs to be filled. And what are you filling it with? Food? Things? 
Adventure racing is something I do for me.
     The Silver Rule says, what if you started to treat yourself as well as you treat others? What if you began to feed yourself healthy food, because you love yourself so much and you want to start feeling better? What if you gave yourself permission to do something you love to do, just for fun. Jump on a trampoline. Go for a walk in the woods. Swing or climb on a playground WITH your kids instead of just watching them have fun without you. Play in the sand at the beach. Build something. Paint something. Create something. Take a course in something you have always wanted to learn. Take yourself to a spa. DO SOMETHING FOR YOU! If someone gives you a compliment, receive it. JUST SAY THANK YOU, and smile. If someone offers you help, accept it. There is no rule that says you have to do it all yourself. AND START ASKING THE PEOPLE WHO LOVE YOU FOR WHAT YOU NEED OR WANT.
Can you help me with the dishes? 
For Christmas, I really want a new tablet. 
Do you mind watching the kids, so I can go to yoga? 
I am really tired, so I am going to bed early. 
I really want to go out to the movies. 
       I need some time alone. 

And receiving from others doesn't mean you have to stop giving. It just means you give to yourself the love and respect you need to be happy and healthy. 
     There are people in this world who are the opposite of us. They are takers, energy vampires, life energy suckers. They are narcissistic and selfish. They too, are out of balance. Following The Silver Rule does not make you that person. And btw, living by The Silver Rule might mean that you stop giving your energy to that person. It's okay to let people who disrespect you, ignore your needs, abuse you, belittle you, or generally suck the life out of you, fade out of your life. You have no obligation to suffer someone else's ignorance, ego or narcissism. You deserve love, not martyrdom. You can pray for them. You can forgive them. You can wish them well, but you do not have to let them abuse you. EVER.
Are you dusty and tarnished inside?
     I call it The Silver Rule because when silver is well cared for, it's shiny and reflective. When you look into a piece of well shined silver, you see yourself. 

One last thought about the damage that we do when we do not allow ourselves to receive and we give give give. We teach our children to be out of balance. They either follow your example and become martyrs to someone else's abuse, or they become narcissistic because they are so used to receiving, that they don't ever learn how to give. Teach them balance by learning to balance your own needs. You create the example upon which they build their lives whether you want to or not. What kind of example are you setting?  If you really love your family, you need to love yourself.

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