By Stacey Rose, PhD, LCSW
We give our partners many gifts throughout our relationships. Can you remember the first gift you gave your partner? Can you remember the first one you received from your partner? Gifts can be very telling. How many times have we heard about the husband who buys a toaster for his wife on her birthday? So, how do we know what type of gifts to give? This article will address one of the most important gifts you could ever give to your significant other. A gift of ‘self-care”.
Self-care is the act of attending to oneself. How will your partner benefit from you taking care of yourself? The answer is in a variety of ways. The single best thing you can give your spouse is a ‘happy you’. If you have taken time to get enough rest, exercise, prepare a healthy meal for yourself, or even get a massage, you will be more fulfilled and thus have more to offer to your mate.
Women in particular are taught to care for others and put ourselves second or last. Think about yourself as if you are a car. All cars need gas, oil changes, and tune-ups on a regular basis to drive to their optimal ability. Just like that car, we too need to care for ourselves in order to perform and function to the best of our ability. If we want our car to run smoothly and we want to drive others around, we need to stop for gas on a regular basis. By refueling, we will be able to offer others a better ride with less of a chance of breaking down.
The more often we take care of ourselves by taking private time to read, go for a walk, have lunch with a friend, or listen to our favorite music, the less angry and resentful we will be toward our mate. We must attend to our own needs first as this is the only way to successfully attend to others’ needs. By putting ourselves last, or even second on the list, we offer less of ourselves to those we love. So stop what you are doing right now and think about how you can give yourself an ’emotional tune-up’. Your spouse will thank you; it may be the best gift your spouse will ever receive.