Friday, May 24, 2024

The 25%: Self-Reciprocity.

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Question 1: How many times have you asked a friend of significant other to do something for you because of what you have done for them?

Question 2:  How many times have you asked yourself to do something you ask others to do?

If your number for question 1 is more than question 2, you may have a problem.

I love the word reciprocity.  I heard it for the first time in middle school listening to Lauryn Hill’s song “Ex-Factor” from The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill CD:  “Tell me, who I have to be/
To get some reciprocity”.  It took me until high school to realize how to say it and what it meant. I did not actually experience the word until college. I met people who believed in giving me the same energy I gave them. I will admit that I am spoiled by this group of people.  There are a lot of experiences, good and bad, that we have had. Nonetheless, we are still friends/family.

I had a conversation with a friend that made me realize something.  I have been asking my friends to give me so much, but what have I been giving myself?  What was I contributing to my self-care?  How was I taking care of me?  My answers to these questions were not positive, and I am not the only one. According to an essay by Daniel Jonas, Yoko Ibuka, and Louise Russell, 6.6% of Americans ages 25 or older engage in self-care on a daily basis. That is a scary thought. We ask so much of others, but how much do we ask of ourselves to be better and healthier? As an introvert, I thought this would be something that I could excel at. I love being home. I enjoy the company of myself.  I am comfortable being alone anywhere.  What could be the problem?  Then, I thought about it.  I may be at home, but I am usually helping others.  I have been alone since I was child, so it is no wonder I enjoy my own company. I was my own company.  I have unique tastes that were not popular. As a result, I learned how to be comfortable anywhere by myself.  So how does one get to a point of practicing self-reciprocity?  I do not have confirmed answers, but I do know some things I will try.

  1. Take breaks.

I am a workaholic. It does not matter if I am teaching, hosting, or writing.  I love working because I am busy. If I am busy, there is very little energy dedicated to distractions and interruptions.  I also find myself overworking to where I am ingesting more energy drinks and volunteering for activities I lack time to complete. So, I have started taking a breaks.  I work for a certain amount of time. Then, I find something to do that has nothing to do with my current activity.  These breaks have kept me from some unhealthy habits and thoughts that hinder my awesomeness.

  1. Speak positivity.

In the Holy Bible, Proverbs 18:21 says that “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” I am truly blessed that I am not dead right now.  I am my worst critic. I will admit that I can speak life and love into others, but I cannot do it for myself.  Well, I can no longer live by that creed. One part of self-reciprocity is admitting I really am a great person. I have a well working body. I love my chocolate skin with its black spots from Indian Fire and pimples. I have to work on my sarcasm and self-deprecation. That will change with time.

  1. Find joy in what I need.

When attempting to be physically and mentally healthy, we tend to do things by force.  We force ourselves to exercise. We force ourselves to eat better.  If we do not find joy (not happiness…happiness is fleeting) in what we are doing, then we are never going to stick with it.  Think about it this way:  we all have a snack we enjoy no matter how we are feeling.  That snack brings us joy. It is our “go-to” when everything seems like it is out of our control.  Just like that snack brings us joy, we have to find things we want to do.  I need to find activities that will help me to be positive and productive in times of depression and despair.

No one should be in a place where they ask more from others than they will from themselves.  It is scary to actually try to figure out what helps us to be our best selves, but it is needed.  Take time to give to yourself what you expect. It is definitely a challenge, but it is not impossible.

Staff Writer; J. W. Bella

May also follow this talented sister online over at; JWB Writes.

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