Friday, April 1, 2011

The Fine Line

Have you ever had birthday cake ice cream?  I hadn't and was totally intrigued, so I bought some.  I was really looking for peppermint ice cream (I was unsuccessful) to put in our hot chocolate (one of our Conference traditions).

Yesterday afternoon was chaotic to say the least.  We had two soccer practices--one from 5-7pm and one from 6-7pm.  We had two kids running in a track meet and one that was going to be participating in track practice.

I hauled the little kids with me on a visit to a family.  We, as a Primary presidency have the goal of visiting each Primary child in our ward.  If you live in my ward, consider yourself warned. :o)  My kids sat in the party van with a video going, and we stood at the door and visited with the three Primary kids.  Such cute, good kids; such a great family!

When we finished our visit, I ran to Beaverton High School for the track meet--kids in tow.  I told them that track meets run long and can be somewhat boring, so they each needed to pick one runner in each race and cheer loud and long for them.  I think that helped the time pass enjoyably for them.

When all was said and done, everybody had run and had been run to practices, etc., and we got home, there was one child who'd arrived home before us.  We quickly surmised that that child's time had been spent on facebook and eating ice cream for the entire two hours that child had been left alone.  I'm guessing you can guess which ice cream I'm referring to, right?  Well, besides two kids having small bowls of it as an after school snack, there was now enough ice cream left for about five spoonfuls; albeit large spoonfuls.

Did this bug me?  Yes, oh yes, on so many levels.  Of the most important is that it is a rule in our home that the internet cannot be used when adults are not home. Another thing that got to me was that this child's time was totally squandered.  All the usual after school tasks were left undone.  And so much for the entire half gallon of ice cream.  Ugh!

This led to a big discussion.  Sometimes it amazes me what these discussions lead to and how much I end up learning from them.  Last night, the conversation led to self-respect and the fine line that exists between that and self-indulgence.

It came down to the idea that little ways we show self-respect to ourselves cost nearly nothing and take very little time, and the things we do to indulge ourselves are usually relatively expensive and take a lot of time.  It was also very curious that the conclusion was reached that when we show little respect for ourselves, we tend more toward spoiling ourselves with indulgences.

Self-respect is loving kindness to ourselves--things like brushing your teeth, getting enough rest, eating the right food--basically taking care of what God has given you.  Self-indulgence is selfish.  It's going overboard.

It almost seems like there's something inside us that helps us know that we need to be valued and cared for, and that we have the responsibility to do that for ourselves.  When we don't do those basic things or when we try to shortcut them, we try to fill them in other ways that only make us appear and feel selfish.

I gave this child the example of three women.  Two of them are women who take good care of themselves.  We discussed the things they do for themselves--exercise regularly, read the scriptures and work to build a relationship with their Heavenly Father, and many other things.  They are truly good examples, and although they are both quite a bit younger than I am, I want to be like them when I grow up (if that ever happens).  The other was a woman who is out of control, but it doesn't seem that she does anything to improve herself or what's happening with her life.  She complains a lot, but takes no action to change things.  She has, from all appearances, very little respect for herself as a daughter of God.  I picture myself as somewhere in the middle of this continuum.  I hope these examples helped this child realize that it's not impossible and is, rather, really quite simple.

We can show respect for ourselves and feel good about ourselves.  Once that respect has been built within us, it's that much easier to respect and give our time and effort to others.  For me, this means that I get up and take care of my needs--washing my face, brushing my teeth, fixing my hair, putting on my make up, and getting dressed first thing in the morning.  It means that I take the time to build myself spiritually at some point during the day.  It means that again at night, I wash my face and brush my teeth and crawl into bed at a descent hour.  These are some of the ways I show respect for myself.

This is merely a theory.  Like I said, these discussions surprise me because this wasn't anything I'd been pondering on or exploring in my thoughts before it came out of my mouth.  I'd love to know your opinion about this and how you go about showing respect for yourself.  How do you honor what God has given you?


6 comments:

Julia said...

I love birthday cake ice cream!

P4 said...

Oops...that last comment is really from me. I was logged in on a friends computer.

vaxhacker said...

Ice cream cake is the best. I loved having that for my birthdays as a kid.

I think I've been, at different times, all over the "respect" spectrum, so I can relate (as, probably, can most of us) I don't believe the Molly Mormon ideal even exists in real life, so even those who seem to have it all put together still have their low points and struggles, even if they're not as evident. Also, people who seem to be hit hard with personal issues or outward appearances that seem less than ideal, may have a lot going for them that's unseen. Learning to judge with your heart and not your eyes is tough.

And yet, relating how we care for ourselves to our self respect is a really important point, I think. You can be in the middle of just about anything, but if you take the time to "ground and center yourself" (hah! Just in case anyone suspects that I don't still use anything they taught us in massage school!)... even with something simple, you give yourself an outlook that you, within the sphere of your own body and mind, are in control, and you care, and you matter, and you can face what else is going on.

I'm no expert--in fact, I'm just furiously typing away with whatever pops into my brain at the moment--but it seems to me that's got to be a pretty good way to hold off things like despair from overtaking you while you're in the middle of a challenge.

vaxhacker said...

So what is the canonical equivalent of Molly Mormon for the guys?

Julie said...

Peter Priesthood.

vaxhacker said...

Oh, yes, I do remember that now. Nothing quite like stereotypes :)

What would Mormon culture be without Peter, Molly, and Mhana?

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