The second rule in the book is “treat yourself like someone you are responsible for taking care of”, something that at first I was slightly confused by but after having read the chapter was obviously enlightened on. One of the strange things that always strikes me about psychology is its ability to boil people down to basics and at the same time enlighten you on particular events and circumstances in your life.
The first example given by the great Dr. Peterson is medication. It is incredibly common for people to be on medication. 45% of the population is on some kind of medication and it is also incredibly common for people to not take them correctly. I don’t mean abuse them, I mean not even taking them reliably. It may or may not surprise you that it’s far less common for people to forget to give their animals or children their medication. I remember when Penny got fixed. I set it up for a Thursday so I could take the rest of that day and Friday off to be with her. I had timers on my phone to make sure she got her meds because I couldn’t stand the thought of my poor little puppy being in pain.
I have IBS and it gets pretty bad sometimes. I take a probiotic with 40 billion live active units in it twice a day. At least I’m supposed to. I take one with my vitamins in the morning which makes it easy to remember and I have a timer set to go off at 5:30 everyday that many of you have heard on the podcast. Even with this timer I might take the second probiotic 3 times a week. I know it makes me feel better, but for some reason I can rarely get myself to take the pill the moment the alarm goes off, but you bet your ass I didn’t to give Penny her pills.
I think that’s natural, and I think that’s part of what Dr. Peterson is trying to say in this chapter. But not all natural behavior is healthy behavior. It is natural to want to help other people, but it is deeply unhealthy and self destructive to allow helping others to impact the time you take to care for yourself or give enough time to the people around you. There is no reason that you don’t deserve to be treated as well as your significant others or children or even your dog. You are just as much of a person and carry just as much potential and meaning as any of them. It is natural to want more and better for the people around you, but those are also things you should want for yourself.
As the title of the chapter and the rule itself implies, you should certainly be treating yourself like someone you are responsible for taking care of. If this were the case my stomach would be in slightly better shape, and my wife would eat fish eggs and meditate everyday. It is hard to break these cycles and do what you know in your heart and mind is best, but first you need to convince yourself that you deserve it, that you are worthy of whatever you are capable of providing for yourself. A large portion of this chapter focuses on just that, helping you realize that you DO deserve it and you are worthy. If you’ve read the book let me know what this chapter meant to you, if you haven’t I suggest you pick it up today. We’ll see you on Saturday.