Fall harvest. The time of year when golden wheat is safely gathered in. Fragrant apples are picked and stored, and the larder filled for winter use. At least, That's how it use to be in our grandparents day. A time to glean from our labors.

I was raised by an industrious grandmother. I bend my back, plant and weed, prune and when the orchard of life bows under the weight of fruitfulness, I pluck the ripe prize and....
Do I take a greedy bite? Do I store it to bake pies later?

None of the above.

What? Well, that's just wrong, you say. And you're right. After all that work, I should receive some of the fruit. Why don't I?
Because I give it all away. Not so much as a bird pecked pear do I keep for myself. That's crazy!
I've lived under the delusion that keeping anything was selfish. Aversion to selfishness has been trained from my birth.
Sadly, I'm not alone in this disease.
Many women suffer and it becomes most apparent during the holidays.
That's why I'm addressing this early in an effort to inoculate those who could fall to the illness.

It reminds me of the tale of The Little Red Hen. She grows the grain, grinds it, and bakes the bread. No one is willing to help, though she asks. They all have excuses. When the plumb loaves emerge from the oven, wafting their yeasty goodness, those too busy to assist in their production come to consume. They are denied. Yep, the hen eats it herself.

If I'm the little red hen, I do it all, as many of you do too. But then I hand over all the warm bread. Every crusty loaf and leave not so much as a crumb for myself. Don't want to be greedy or selfish, after all.
This selfless hen lies in a heap in her field dying from starvation.


I'm not the only demented hen out there. Many women are living this twisted version of a good story.
There's nothing wrong with balance. It's okay to keep some of the bread. That's not selfish, it's survival.
If the hen goes chicken feet up, no one eats, except the vultures looking to pick her clean.

Starting now, take time to enjoy what you work to create. Sit down and slice off a thick piece of bread, slather on fresh butter, and watch it melt as you breathe in the luscious aroma. Take a bite and savor your labors. Feed yourself.
It's okay to enjoy your blessings.
You aren't truly grateful if you refuse those good things.

This month, I'm showing my gratitude by enjoying what I've been given, and what I've worked to create.
"For what we have received, let us be truly, grateful."


11/03/2012 9:31am

Very nice post, Sandy. I tend toward selflessness to "almost" the point of ignoring myself. There has to be a balance and taking care of oneself. Thank you for the reminder.

11/03/2012 10:08am

I'm glad that you don't totally ignore your needs. When you are a giver, it's tough to remember to put yourself on the list. Thank you for giving me a moment of your time and allowing the reminder to take care of yourself.

11/03/2012 9:46am

Interesting post and I know so many selfless women that I want to share your post with them to open their eyes. My mother once said to me, "Judy, while taking care of your family, don't forget to take time your health, your needs, and your appearance.Respecting yourself lifts your self esteem and demands others to show respect for you as well."

11/03/2012 10:10am

Your mother is a wise woman. Most of us never got that message.
Self respect and value are at the core of the overly selfless issue.
When we value ourselves, we will see to our needs.
Thank you for sharing this with those who needs it.

11/03/2012 10:11am

I love this story. My son grew up hating it. Why? Because when he didn't do his share, he got reminded of it.

11/03/2012 12:17pm

The same with my children. They thought it was a cute tale until they had to pull their weight. Now they appreciate they have to work to eat. So many younger people missed this lesson and struggle in the real world. Thanks for sharing your experience.

11/03/2012 10:21am

Back when I had five kids under five years old, I remember putting them down for naps at 11 am and realizing I hadn't had a chance to pee since I'd gotten out of bed! I remember thinking I was going to be able to worry about me when they all turned 18.
The first one turned 18 six years ago...the same time I closed my shop and started writing with an eye for publication. They have a hard time winning me away from my own agenda now and I don't feel guilty much. After all, I crossed my legs and held it for them all those years...

11/03/2012 12:20pm

LOL. This is just how it is, or was! I'm tired of holding it too. Done with passing out the bread with nothing to show for it. Time to let that pendulum swing back. Thanks for sharing an experience most of us can relate to. No need to feel guilty for taking care of business.

11/03/2012 10:31am

Why are we raised this way? Crazy. Give, give, give, and be be grateful you can give at all. Self indulgence is necessary to survival. We need to learn to appreciate ourselves and recognize our own talents. Great blog and life lesson, Sandy.

11/03/2012 12:22pm

I think the motivation for this post was exhaustion. I'm practicing some much needed self indulgence this month. And it feels great!
Hope you do the same.

11/03/2012 10:45am

A most excellent most, Sandy! And you are definitely one of the most giving people I know:-)

11/03/2012 12:24pm

Thanks for the kind words. Me, giving? I'm beginning to see that as less than a sterling quality and more like a trap. Working on balance.
thank you for the support. This hen plans on having a slice of hot bread!

11/03/2012 12:57pm

Sandy, so glad you're taking care of you.... finally. I fell into this trap for years and now that I don't, well... the family may not be happy, but I am :)

11/03/2012 2:20pm

I know there is a balance to this. It may take some time to come to center. Thanks for the support.

11/03/2012 1:04pm

Good for you, Sandy. You know that part of the airline safety message where they instruct you to put your oxygen mask on first? Yeah... breath. If you don't, you can't help others. It doesn't make you selfish, it makes you wise.

11/03/2012 2:22pm

Thanks Kim. It's the survival thing. How arrogant of me to believe I'm invincible. LOL
I need nourishment too.
The airline model is perfect.
Thanks for the wisdom.

11/03/2012 6:47pm

Great post, Sandy. So right you are. I feel very selfish lately since I've been cooking for myself (gluten and dairy free), so lately, I bake and cook regular for the rest of the family. They are always grateful, which makes the labor one of love.

11/04/2012 6:48am

I have promised to bake a few regular favorites for the family. I'm a gluten free gal, so I get the issue. And I'm doing it for the fun of it.
Selfishness can be an attitude as much as an action. Your intention is the best. Love.
Bake away, Carole!

11/04/2012 7:57am

Totally awesome post, Sandy. It's true. We toil and toil and mix in great amounts of self-guilt. There are days I feel so overwhelmed by all the things that need to be accomplished during the day, I forego lotioning my skin, or freshening my pedicure, or putting on makeup. All the things that make me feel pretty and pampered. At the end of the day, tasks are still stacked high and my self-esteem dives to greater lows. Thanks for the reminder that my dry, scaly, unlotioned bones will be picked dry if I don't take keep my feathers puffed and fluffed. Here's to enjoying the fruits of our labors and the care and keeping of our own well-being...

11/04/2012 8:40am

Thanks for the comments. I'm guilty of the dry skin and lack of pedi- freshening too. Great idea for today. It does fill my bucket and it really doesn't take that much time. You rock!

11/05/2012 5:29am

Balance is the key word. I think many times we give because giving makes us feel good. When giving makes us feel used and depleted, it's time to re-evaluate. Good post and reminder.

11/05/2012 8:45am

You're so right, balance is key. Giving feels good until it doesn't. Unfortunately, by then I'm pulling my feathers out. LOL. Working on balance this year and staying whole.
Thanks for the support. It's always a pleasure to glean your wisdom.

11/09/2012 7:53pm

Great advice, Sandy. Perfect time to share this.

11/09/2012 8:22pm

Thanks for coming by. It's what I needed to remember, so I shared. Glad you enjoyed it.

Comments are closed.