Maybe Self-deprivation isn’t Fun

This is How Positive Change Happens…

Understanding Human IntelligenceMaybe Self-deprivation isn’t Fun

When I was meditating recently, I had an insight. I’ve written it up on a sign and pasted it on my bathroom mirror. In bold letters, it says:

I’m determined to fill my tank.
There is no need for self-deprivation.

  • The sign is there to remind me to live by these words as much as I can every day. It’s also there because I struggle with doing so. Maybe you struggle with it too. If you do, I hope you find this enews-letter helpful.For me, as I start my day, I often have a pretty good sense of what I need in order to feel healthy, balanced, and more restored (or, what I need to do or not do to fill my tank). For example, a part of me tells me, “You need to get to bed earlier tonight. Let’s aim for 11pm. You’ll feel better”. At that point, I respond with, “Yes, that’s a great idea. I agree”. The plan is set. As the day unfolds though, sometimes I get too busy or overwhelmed. I return home feeling kind of depleted but I’m no longer on board with the plan to fill my tank by taking good care of myself with a good night’s sleep.
  • Now, another part of me kicks in and says, “Hey, you’ve worked hard. Let’s have some fun. You don’t need to go to bed by 11pm. Let’s watch detective shows on Netflix!”. That’s one of my things. You might do that one too or you might do something else. Watching too many detective shows and staying up too late is a way I self-soothe, distract, attempt to reward myself and have fun. And, it’s also a way I deprive myself from what I really need. When I indulge in what I want rather than what I need, I don’t end up feeling restored enough or taken care of well enough. And the whole thing ends up not feeling fun.This is a pattern I’m working with on a daily basis. Applying the tool of the “3 Question Check-in” helps:1. What do I appreciate about myself today?
    2. What do I most need today?
    3. What am I willing to do to help myself get that need met?

    Answering these questions helps us to be more connected to ourselves and to know what actions need to happen to take good care of ourselves. Committing to the actions to meet the need seems to be the tricky part for me. I have found I have more success with that part when I:

    • Tell my partner, family member, friend, and therapist what my self-care plan is.
    • Leave reminder notes for myself in the morning at key locations I will see when evening comes, such as in the spot I sit when I watch Netflix.
    • Consciously recognize my successes, big and small.

    Progress is being made and there’s an abundance of practice moments available daily where I can choose to fill my tank or deprive myself of that. So, I go forward with renewed determination to fill my tank and, I also give myself compassion as I’m in the thick of learning how to do it. If you’re learning this too, I hope it’s a bit easier after reading this article. If you’d like more support, come in for an appointment. I understand and I’m here to help.

    Jeffrey Sumber’s “3 Questions Check-in” intervention (Thank you to D.C. for sharing this article with me)



self-deprivation | filling the tank | individual counselling