Updated: Jun 14, 2021
Guests coming over? Lay out the fancy towels, dust off the elegant plates and squeeze that fresh orange juice. In this entry, Betty (your hypothetical mother-in-law) is visiting and you're treating her magnificently. And besides Betty, how would it be to honour yourself in just the same ways? Here's how to treat yourself as your most honoured guest.
Listening to: Dionne Warwick - What the World Needs Now (Is Love)
Gift yourself the highest quality treatment. Photo by Matthew Henry via Burst.
SOMEONE’S COMING OVER
Picture this: Your family member, or a friend or - perhaps the ultimate house guest - your in-law, is in town and staying at your place for a little while.
For the sake of a vivid guest, let’s imagine it’s your mother-in-law and we’ll call her Betty.
There are two ways this could play out...
Betty requested to stay at your house; you agreed. You haven’t really thought much about hosting her, you didn’t shop, or clean, or consider what she might want or need. Whatever, Betty.
Betty arrives at your front door, you open it and pretty much let her fend for herself in the spray painted maze of your disorganised starved house. You wave in the general direction of the linen cupboard, grumble that she should grab any towel that smells ok and tell her she can graze on whatever crumbly crispies she might find in the cereal cupboard. You quietly hope she doesn’t want to spend time together (you have other important things to do).
Seems to me your mother in law would likely hold higher esteem in your mind than being treated like this…
So let’s consider Scenario B.
Betty requested to stay at your house; you agreed. In anticipation, you’ve shopped for the yummiest snacks, you’ve cleaned even the dark corners of every room in your home and you’ve arranged some gorgeous fresh flowers on the coffee table. You’re getting ready to host by priming what you can control and you hope to make your most honoured guest feel comfortable and cared for.
Betty arrives at your front door, you open it and give her a big welcome hug (let’s say 1.5m distance is no longer a requirement) and ease her into your clean fridge-full home with a grand tour and a cooling bevvie. You offer her a home baked delicacy and ask about her hopes and dreams for the time you have to spend together. You’re lavishing her with all the luxurious treatment. She is important to you and you’d like your actions to help her feel it with sincerity.
Given that Scenario B (or a more relaxed but equally loving version of it) is obviously the preferred course of action, let’s entertain this wild thought for the next few minutes:
Instead of reserving these fancies and flourishes for when Betty comes to stay; I encourage you to treat yourself as your most honoured guest.
As you care for your most honoured guest, consider showing yourself the same care and attention.
You wake up the next morning, gulp your water and write down 3 things you’re grateful for. Then you remember Betty is sleeping in your guest room. You tiptoe around the house, letting her sleep in. You definitely don’t run into her room, whip off the covers and demand she starts being productive immediately. Betty needs her beauty sleep.
And so do you. Gift yourself quiet flowy mornings, listen to what your body needs and grant it exactly that. Late lie in on the weekends? Give yourself the permission to enjoy it. 10 minutes of reading in bed before getting up to face the day? Yas, queen.
Betty is awake. She grabs the fancy guest towel you’ve lovingly laid out for her and heads to the bathroom. You’ve wiped down all the surfaces, scrubbed the bath and displayed your highest quality shampoos, exfoliators and body oils for her to enjoy.
You absolutely deserve the same magnificent treatment - clean your home so the spaces you use daily are a pleasure to live in. Here’s a powerful trick: switch your mindframe from “ugh, I have to clean” to “I get to live in a clean home” and then grab that vacuum cleaner, girl! Additionally, use your fancy products on any normal day. Wanna spice up a regular Monday morning? Create your own spa with a clay mask. Indulge in your fancy face cream. And spritz Chanel all over yourself, just because!
While she’s singing Ella Fitzgerald in the shower, you slip into Betty’s room and make her bed. A neatly made bed sets an organised tone for an entire bedroom.
You decide you may as well make your own bed while you’re at it. Through treating Betty like a queen, you start to think you can do yourself the same favours.
After a nutritious breakfast of all the goodness, you have a full day planned to show Betty around your city. You take her to your favourite spots and treat her to the most delightful experiences.
I encourage you to take yourself on a solo date. What do you like to do? Sit at a café (with your book or even just people watch), muse through a museum, picnic alone in the park or go dancing if you can. Whatever you like to do, try it alone. My personal favourite solo date is me and my book, sushi and a glass of rosé... Heaven.
You arrive back home, Betty is exhausted from exploring your city and she asks if you can have a relaxed evening in, rather than go out for cocktails as discussed. “Yes!”, you say, as you wouldn’t want her to feel pressured to do something she doesn’t want to.
So too should you listen to yourself… On the days that you’re low on energy, call that friend and let her know you’re not up to seeing your plans through, or, if you’d still like the company, suggest a more chilled hangout.
Betty really opens up as you both settle on the couch. She tells you about something she did that she’s ashamed of. You listen, you nod, you ooh and aah at the right places. You’re a very empathetic listener. You remind her she was only doing her best with what she had and what she knew at the time. You don’t judge her, you don’t tell her she was so damn stupid and you don’t mention that she really should’ve acted in a wiser way. No no no. You receive her with love and understanding. You also tell her she has incredibly redeeming qualities and that you feel lucky to be part of her family.
When it comes to treating yourself as your most honoured guest, grant yourself the time and space
to listen to yourself, to understand, to process experiences and embody the deep feelings.
You offer dear Betty a cup of tea (or cha), wrap her in your coziest blanket and make yourself available to be the safe space she needs to chatter away about herself.
Offer yourself the same. Through listening and accepting your feelings and actions you condition yourself to trust and know yourself deeper with every achievement.
You and Betty happily chat well into the wee hours. You don’t even consider suggesting watching a movie to create some entertainment for yourselves.
Similarly, instead of mindlessly switching on Netflix at the end of a challenging day, rather sit alone quietly and ask yourself how you are and what’s been going on in your life. (I’m all for a zombie-like series session now and then, but only if it’s in harmony with dedicated solo time for soul conversations.)
You bid a sleepy Betty goodnight with the sense that she has really enjoyed her time with you. Your relationship has strengthened and you look forward to even more time together. She thanks you for a very special visit.
Remember to show yourself some gratitude. A grateful heart makes space for even more goodness!
It is so important to value yourself. Take inspiration form the selfless way you treat your house guest and give yourself permission to lavish those same graces upon your beautiful self. Put yourself first and then thank yourself for all the incredible things you’ve done, choices that have shaped you and sacrifices you’ve made to get to where you are now.
Fill your own cup first. Then, when it’s overflowing with love, you’ll have even more to share, with your mother-in-law or anyone else important in your life.
With love, the Self Love Club x
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