It’s Sunday and my favourite treat is a lazy morning reading in bed before breakfast. My husband and our youngest son go off to rugby training around 9am so the freedom of a few hours to ‘get things done’ mixed with the spring temperature and nourishing sunshine is inspiring me to start on some long neglected household chores, while my eldest two children do their homework.
As usual my head is buzzing with all the things I could do which would make me feel so much better – more organised and in control and hence lighter, more confident and happier. I could crack on with ironing the pile of school uniform. I could sort out our bulging ‘bits and bobs’ drawer, or do a spring clean of my wardrobe. I could cook healthy snack for the week, or do a bit of gardening.
But something stops me. I have a question for myself. Is it time to pay myself first?
My latest book is about creativity, by Dr Eric Maisel and quite honestly it has led to a huge shift in my thinking about myself, my own creativity, my bouts of depression and ultimately my happiness. He believes that creative people – whether they are artists, sculptors, musicians, scientists, chefs, writers or indeed anyone who has an urge to create things and be innovative – have a stronger need to make meaning in their lives. When this need is not met, depression all too easily creeps in. For me this explains so much about what I’ve struggled with during my life.
It’s taken 41 years for me to realise I am creative. Duh!
It’s taken 41 years and a lot of heartache for me to realise that my constant striving to create a successful career/coaching business is not the result of me needing to ‘prove’ myself to others but a powerful need to create a meaningful life and make a difference.
It’s taken me 12 years to realise that my dreams of creating a happy healthy family are not just an element of my perfectionist behaviour but also an innermost urge to do goings my way, to create a new (maybe better?) way of bringing up a family. Of creating compassionate, courageous, emotionally intelligent children who are more confident and happy than I have been. It’s a sign of my creative side that I want to be rebellious and innovative and not just accept that just because this is how everyone else does it, that I should too.
Dr Maisel advises that if you are a creative person like me, and I’m sure like many of you reading this, you should get your creativity done first. Do it first thing, when you get up. Pay yourself first. Put your oxygen mask on first, in order to help others.
So this morning I paid myself first. I’d been thinking of how to get my children, especially my older two to raise their expectations of what a Sunday is for. After homework, their goal seems to be centred around how many hours they can link on Minecraft or Clash of Clans on their iPods. During my peaceful breakfast sitting outside in the sun, listening to the birds I created what my daughter Jasmine labelled as a ‘habit planning goal tool’. (Photo)
I then resisted the strong urge to get on and get stuff done and sat down to write this. I haven’t written much on my blogs over the last year, and it feels good. Very meaningful to me. And hopefully insightful for you. Thank you for reading.