On the surface, the idea of ME FIRST appears to be an act of selfishness, and yet it is an essential life strategy. Consider the last time you flew. The airline host reviewed all the safety rules of the plane just before takeoff. Standardly this ends with, “If at any time the cabin of the plane depressurizes, oxygen masks will be deployed from the area just above your head. If you are traveling with a young child or someone who requires your assistance, secure the mask over your face first, and then place the mask on the face of the person traveling with you.” When this instruction is given, no one considers this to be a selfish act. It is simple; you know that to look after yourself first is essential if you are also to be responsible for the welfare of others.
The ME FIRST message therefore is one of ‘selfness’, serving yourself first so as to leverage your capacity to continue to serve others. The message is a simple one to understand and yet so difficult for most to implement. The ‘to do’ list looms and when you examine the list you find that your ME FIRST time is at the bottom of the list or not on the list at all. So where do you begin to shift this and how do you get yourself on your own priority list?
The 1% Rule
Pause for a moment and ask yourself if you would be willing to dedicate 1% of your day to YOU. That seems like a chewable chunk to bite off when beginning your ME FIRST journey. To complete the calculations, 1% of your day represents 14.4 minutes – we suggest increasing this to 15 minutes per day of dedicated ME FIRST time. Next, use this time for re-generation and renewal for yourself. MEFIRST time is meant to be a calming experience where you have a chance to catch your breath, be clear regarding what you want, be kind and gentle with yourself. Notice that no one else will do that for you if you do not do it for yourself first.
Guidelines for ME FIRST Time
While structuring ME FIRST time is not recommended, as it is designed to be open and free time for you, here are some guidelines for using this time should you choose. First, divide your time into two seven minutes segments. Use the first seven minute segment in the morning, just after your alarm goes off. The is the time for intention setting – getting clear on the day which stretches out before you and what it is you want to attract in this day. By the way, an intention is not a goal, it is more open ended and might be stated as:
I want to attract an easy and effortless day or I want to be a beneficial influence in the world today, or I am attracting my perfect work in the world The use of intentions to begin your day sets off a field of energy that influences all else that follows. Trust that your intentions are leading you forward in a way that is perfect for you.
Next, take your second seven minute ME FIRST time at the end of your day. Reflect back on the day behind you and notice all the amazing and miraculous things that happened. They are there – you just may not be practiced in seeing them. Consider work events, people you interacted with, random acts of kindness, or tough lessons from which you learned. Everything is perfect and landed in your lap as a result of your intentions. Now express gratitude for all of the above. Say it to yourself or take a few moments to record these in a gratitude journal. Infuse your pillow with your gratitudes just before you go to sleep.
These simple bookends, beginning your day with intentions, and ending your day with gratitude, will having anamazing influence on how you feel about yourself and your place in the world. ME FIRST time is designed for you to see yourself through truth, through the lens of unconditional love and high regard. This can only happen when you dedicate ME FIRST time for yourself on a daily basis and use this as a building block for becoming a more magnificent you.
ME FIRST Re-visited
One of the great lessons of ME FIRST in addition to the notion of ‘selfness’ is understanding that any change that you desire in your life begins with ME FIRST. What does this mean? Essentially that if you want to change how others treat you, if you want to shift your relationships to a new place, if you want to attract more fulfilling work, the change begins within you. As an example, if you want to be respected by others, you must first respect yourself; if you want to attract more fulfilling work, you must see and acknowledge the gifts, strengths and knowledge you have; if you want to forge new relationships, you must be clear on what you want from others and embrace those same qualities yourself.
All of this may seem like work and it is. Be reassured that this is the most important work you will ever do. ME FIRST is an essential life strategy as you are the initiator, you get to decide how you choose to play on the stage of this life. Only YOU can effectively change your world and what is happening around you. It begins by dedicating time for yourself to be in intention and to understand what you want. This is followed by shifting your relationship with yourself, treating yourself in a loving manner and with unconditional high regard. And finally, always remember to have fun, laugh at yourself, and dance!
For additional ME FIRST Strategies, you can visit www.roadSIGNS.ca. Betty’s two books, ME FIRST- If I Should Wake Before I Die and the ME FIRST Playbook are designed as coaching support for your ME FIRST journey. These are available from the website and will be on sale at the Orleans Wellness Expo, Saturday, January 21st, 2012.