“You don’t flirt when he looks good. You flirt when you look good.”
I remember seeing this headline above an image of a girl admiring herself in the mirror on the glossy page of the magazine many years ago. I think it was advertising jeans, but I honestly don’t remember. But that particular statement on that ad stuck with me.
Isn’t that so true?
You don’t want to go out on the town when everyone else is excited. You want to go when you are excited.
You don’t want to be in a bunch of pictures when everyone else looks good. You want to when you look good.
You don’t want to have fun, laugh, get into an adventure, tell stories, or make memories when everyone else is in a good mood. You want to when you are in a good mood.
It all starts with you.
I was thinking the other day about all of my many responsibilities. Most are the same as yours I am sure—financial, family, work, and so on. And then I realized something . . . I regularly neglect a very important responsibility: me.
See, I take things more seriously when I view them as my responsibility (as opposed to a luxury, which is optional). Working, taking care of my baby, being a supportive wife, showing up for my friends, helping others—those are all important responsibilities.
Like many people, taking care of myself always seemed like a luxury I indulged in—if I had some extra time left over.
But we shouldn’t view taking care of ourselves (like working out, spending time on a hobby, or having cute clothes that make us feel good) as luxuries saved for guiltless times of the year such as birthdays and holidays. We should instead view them for what they truly are: our responsibility.
Because here is the reality: It’s your responsibility to make yourself feel good. It’s your responsibility to make yourself happy, confident and proud. It’s your responsibility to make yourself a person that your family wants to be around, a woman that your husband wants to take on a date, a mom that your kids want to play with and a friend that people want to hang out with.
No one can do that for you. For example, no matter how many times my husband tells me I look pretty, if I don’t feel pretty, I don’t act like it.
And when you use the martyr syndrome of putting everyone else first as an excuse to live your life grumpy, rushed and running ragged, everyone loses.
You know that feeling, don’t you? I sure do.
It’s spending that extra 20 minutes before you leave the house vacuuming the floors instead of putting on makeup, which then leads to shying away from pictures later at dinner with friends. It’s being impatient with your kids, unhappy with your spouse, and easily frustrated at work because you haven’t had even two free minutes for yourself to unwind, read a good book, or just take a freaking nap.
It’s called shame, and it’s heavy, exhausting and ugly.
When you don’t take care of you, you feel bad. And when you feel bad about you, you feel bad about everything else too.
I’m not saying you need to ignore your other responsibilities. And I am certainly not saying you need to obsess over how you look. If you’ve read my writing for any amount of time, you know that I’m not about that.
But I am about taking care of yourself and doing things that make you happy. It’s not selfish—it’s self-preservation. And it’s not a luxury—it’s your responsibility.
So let’s take our responsibilities seriously. Not just the responsibilities we have to others, but the responsibility we have to ourselves as well. After all, we can’t offer something we don’t have, and we can’t lead others where we are not.
“The most powerful way to teach a daughter how to enjoy life is to let her see her mother do the same.” –Meg Meeker
Spend some time this week making yourself the very best version of you. That might mean spending an extra 15 minutes putting on makeup, or going for a run, or getting a pedicure, or buying a new outfit. Go do whatever makes you feel good, whatever makes you happy, whatever makes you want to flirt ( . . . figuratively speaking, of course).