When was the last time you took stock of your own needs? Join author Edie Weinstein as she shares “10 Ingredients for a Healthy Relationship with Yourself.“
Written by Edie Weinstein
How would you like to cook up the most scrumptious, nourishing meal that will feed you indefinitely, made in a container that overflows and has plenty to share with everyone you meet? You don’t need a kitchen, pots, pans or utensils. No mess to clean up no stuck- on food. What the heck is she talking about, you may wonder?
Simply put, I suggest that the woman in the mirror may be starving; not merely nutritionally, but mentally, emotionally or spiritually. When was the last time you took stock of your own needs? Who me? Yes, YOU…the one sitting (as my friend Liora says with a twinkle in her eye) there in your underwear, the one whose teeth you brush each day.
As women, we absorb cultural and familial messages that we are to put others before us, lest we be considered selfish. I contend that self- service is one of the most loving things we do for our families and friends, our job and even the world. How can you fill someone else’s cup if your own is bone dry empty?
Are you ready to roll up your sleeves and become the creative chef who designs your own culinary masterpiece worthy of Julia Child?
- Recalling Your Roots– When my mom died in 2010, and I cleaned out her condo before selling it, I found in the kitchen, many of the tools she had used to prepare meals that included a glass rolling pin, an egg slicer and two little boxes of recipes. It was a walk down memory lane that had me smiling as I recalled the delicious aromas that emanated from the circa 1960’s turquoise appliance, black and red laminate table, green sofa decorated kitchen in our suburban South Jersey home. It was more than just the food that came from the oven or stove; it was the love that went into it. Her mother, my beloved grandmother made rice pudding with raisins that filled my tummy and my heart. My paternal grandmother; my Russian Bubbe ‘cooked by ear’ since although she spoke 5 languages, she couldn’t read and write in any of them. Blintzes were among her specialties. That was my foundation. Take a look at your own history and see if there is at least one elder, an anchoring person who brings back precious memories. Our ancestral connections keep us grounded and give us wings simultaneously.
- Appreciation Station-Take some time each day to appreciate you. It could be as simple as thanking yourself for waking up with the alarm clock, or perhaps before it (my head alarm clock usually awakens me before the digital rooster has its chance). How good does it feel for someone else to thank you for something? Write yourself a thank you note, highlighting all of the things you are grateful that you experienced, did for yourself or others. That might include eating healthfully and mindfully, taking time to savor each bite, rather than rushing through a meal to get on to the next thing on your list.
- An Atty-tood of Gratty-tood– As a continuation of the last ingredient, consider all of the blessings in your life including those that may not have felt that way at the time. A recently learned description of such an experience is ‘blesson’; seeing the bless in the mess. Make a list each morning, thanking in advance for what you desire and one before closing your eyes each night, highlighting who or what came your way in the previous 12 hours. If you are feeling a bit draggy throughout the day, give yourself a boost by looking around you and adding to your gratitude list.
- A Love Letter to Your Sweet-heart– I’m talking about YOU, not a beloved other. Take out a piece of paper or a pretty card and wax poetic or sexy, adoring the Goddess within you. Speak of your virtues, your beauty and glory, your finer qualities. Write it so that if you had received it from someone else, you would blush reading it aloud. Then seal it, address it, stamp it and give it a friend to mail it to you in a month or so. When you receive it, you will be delighted since this type of sweet treat is calorie free, fat free and cholesterol free.
- Proportioned Pie– How many hours a day, do you spend caring for others vs. looking after you? If you were to draw a pie chart, what percentage would fall into ‘others matter more’ categories? Do you take leisure/play time, resting and re-creating? Many people these days take stay-cations during which they allot pockets of time to just BE and not busily do, such that they might need a vacation from their vacation. For me, self-care includes pedicures and massage; no longer an indulgence, but a necessity.
- Self -Compassion Fruit– For most of us, having compassion for others; a sense of understanding and a desire to alleviate suffering, comes naturally. For ourselves, not so much. Many’s the time I have ‘tisked and tutted’ at the things I have done, admonishing myself with “You should know better,” recriminations. The poster that reads “The beatings will continue until morale improves around here,” comes to mind, as if by doing so, we will somehow become better people. Instead, imagine the tiny, innocent child that came into the world on the day you were born. Is the adult that you are now any less worthy of love and understanding than that wee one? I saw a posting on Facebook that read “The Universe thought you were a good idea.” Who are we to argue with the Universe on that one?
- Change Your Mind– Just like you change the foods you eat each day, knowing that you would likely get bored having the same meal three times a day, you can change your mind about anything you want. I have heard it said that somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 thoughts flow through our minds in a 2 hour period, most are unconscious, automatic, and repetitive and more often than not, negative. They are what fuel our decisions and actions. Imagine random, willy-nilly thoughts running amok…what havoc might they wreak? Take a look at your current life circumstances and ask yourself this question: What would someone have to be thinking or believing to be having the experiences I am having? When I have done that, I have been amazed at the patterns I have discovered. Think about the things you used to believe when you were a child and notice how you no longer believe some of them, because you gathered more information and chose a different path.
- Team YOU– Surround yourself with people who support you and your dreams. I have been blessed with more yay-sayers than many nay-sayers throughout my life. Not that people haven’t disagreed with me or challenged me over the years, but most have believed in me and told me that I could accomplish anything I set out to do. I encourage you to invite more than one person to be there for/with you since even sports teams have more than one cheerleader on their squad. In a well- run restaurant kitchen, a chef needs a crew who is proficient at supporting her in cooking up scrumptious meals, rather than being ‘chief cook and bottle washer’ all by herself.
- Self Esteem Ice Cream– Just like a sundae starts with ice cream, love without limits begins with self- love, After all, the syrup, sprinkles; whipped cream and cherry need something to nestle into. Most of us didn’t have healthy role models for concocting one and so we often found ourselves (or lost ourselves) in addictions, co-dependent, dysfunctional relationships or making unsavory choices. We need not limit ourselves when it comes to our own value. When my now 26 year old son was a ;little boy and we asked him to choose between two flavors of ice cream, he would answer that he wanted “both of each.”, not settling for less.
- Feed Your Soul– In order to have a nutritious meal, it is important to have a wide array of healthy options that supply your body with the vitamins and minerals needed to sustain vitality. In the same way, it is essential to nourish our curious minds and yearning souls. Whatever your spiritual beliefs (and I don’t tell anyone what to believe spiritually), we all came from somewhere and want to feel a connection to Source, whatever that might be for each of us. For some that might mean attending religious services, for others, communing with nature feeds that hunger. Ways that I engage in spiritual practice include: drumming, chanting dancing, yoga, meditation, sacred sexuality, reading books by transformational authors, listening to enrapturing music, watching inspiring movies and time with kindred spirits (anam cara- which is Gaelic for ‘soul friend’)
Whatever your choices, know that you ‘don’t eat the menu’, so indulge in the buffet, add your own unique recipes, and feed each other with love.
Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life — Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.TM Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s.
What have you accepted in your life that took time, physically or mentally?
I have been learning that I can create my own life- meals without using anyone else’s recipes. I used to think that in order to be accepted, I had to follow the rules and be a ‘good girl; not make waves or rock the boat. I was afraid of rejection and would go along to get along. Now I ‘order off the menu’ any chance I get.
What do you appreciate about yourself and within your life?
That I have immense curiosity about the world and that I am never bored. I love fusion-experiences of ‘this AND that’, not this instead of that. I am willing to ask for what I want, not thinking I am inconveniencing anyone by making ‘special requests’.
What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What goals do you still have?
I have been stepping out onto bigger stages, showcasing my gifts and talents (cooking is not one of them, by the wayJ and being a more vocal advocate for people to discover areas where they too can shine.
What is your not-so-perfect way?
I am still facing anger and resentment related to past events and notice that the pot sometimes simmers on the ‘stove’, sometimes it bubbles over and other times, I let it burn dry. I need to metaphorically empty the sink of its overflowing dishes.
How would you complete the phrase “I Love My
Willingness to sample new aspects of life, meeting new people, stretching my comfort zones.
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