Monday’s Meditation: On Advantages, Guilt & Other Ways You’re Missing The Point
My mom has always said that we had better use her MS to some advantage or there would really be no point. As a result, we’ve come to casually revel in the ideal parking spots we’re guaranteed to get anytime we go anywhere, or the fact that we’re given the best seats at any performance venue. I think back in the day she might have even encouraged me to use her illness to excuse mental health days. Like, “I can’t go to school today, my mom has MS!” As if that was a case of the flu and not something more consistent, like a person’s name.
My friend made me think about this concept again yesterday. We were having a glorious Sundate, enjoying what’s sure to be one of the last stubborn summer streaks, sitting by the waterfront in some conveniently situated public-use, plastic yellow chairs (which I sat in none too grimly, what with the germs and all).
She told me that she’s looking forward to all the weekend trips she has lined up in the coming months, adding that at this point, she’s come to realize that she truly needs to take those frequent and mini-vacays in order to be her best self. And she added too that for the first time in her life she’s begun to not feel guilty about taking those trips.
She is, after all, self-employed, and her business is one that allows her to work from any location. And she is working hard and earning money righteously. Taking advantage of the benefits her flexible lifestyle affords her is exactly what she should be doing. Enjoying the benefits of her hard work is the only reasonable thing to do.
Regardless of our paths, there are always benefits. But too often we deny ourselves those benefits, or deny ourselves permission to take advantage of them without feeling guilty for doing so.
We consider added benefits to be things we haven’t fairly or purposefully earned, when that’s exactly what we’ve done. In our pursuit of various goals, our noble efforts will always bring about added, and sometimes unexpected, benefits.
Rather than see those benefits as separate or extra from your work and the compensation you receive as a result of it, realize that those benefits are the results of your work. They may not come from it, but they do come through it.
And considering how hard we work to support ourselves and the world around us, it is silly not to enjoy the gifts we have (however unknowingly) created.
Take me for instance: I can feel guilty about the fact that I’m shopping for clothes on a Tuesday afternoon when I “should be working,” or I can realize that there is nothing I “should be” doing at any given moment on any given day other than what I deem of value. And I can enjoy one of my benefits: that I occasionally have the flexibility to go shopping when the stores are blessedly uncrowded, as opposed to toughing it out on the weekends.
Whatever your work or your circumstance, realize that those benefits that come as a result are yours to claim. They are the particular ways that life is proving to you that it’s designed to support your happiness. They are intended for you to enjoy, to provide you with fun, small pleasures and fulfillment. Or there really would be no point.
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