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  • Are You Following Rule 16?

Are You Following Rule 16?

I don't like myself; I'm crazy about myself

Rule 16: Give Yourself the Little Blue Box

On Jack’s and Henry’s seventh birthday, I lazily lay in our less-than-optimally-comfortable hotel bed and relived their delivery in my mind (which isn't the most pleasant of memories, frankly. Worth it, but not terribly pleasant).

Suddenly, someone with a very loud voice began poking me and shouting, "GRACE! GRACE! WHERE IS JACK?"

"Henry," I answered, "he and Papa went to pick up breakfast. I'm sleeping. And I'm not Grace."

He trotted back into the hotel room’s living area and opened the door to the hallway over and over hoping to catch a glimpse of his brother, undoubtedly to scream to him that it was their birthday (in case Jack didn't know).

I called him back into the bedroom and enthusiastically proclaimed, "Henry, Happy Birthday!"

"Happy Birthday," he sullenly responded.

"Henry, it's your birthday. You don't have to wish me Happy Birthday."

"I wasn't," he clarified, sounding just like Senator Eeyore. "I was wishing myself a happy birthday."

This made me laugh. It also taught me a lesson. Sometimes we wait for others to give us what we want or need. But one, we aren’t clear about what that is. And two, sometimes we have to be our own best friend.

There was a time when I thought the little blue box from Tiffany’s was love made manifest. I waited and waited and waited for it to be presented to me. It never appeared. I’ll admit that I spent some time feeling sure that this meant that David didn’t love me.

And then one day, I proactively ended my pity party and waltzed into Tiffany’s. I made nice with Margaret, the bejeweled lady behind the counter, and told her, “Margaret, I need a blue box. I’ve been waiting to receive one for years, and it appears it isn’t going to happen unless I do it myself.” She nodded in complete understanding, as though she’d heard this song many times before, and handed me the smallest blue box under the counter.

   I went home, put my engagement ring in it, put it on my pillow, and gave an Oscar-winning performance to the stuffed animals that lay strewn about our bedroom when I “discovered” and opened it later that evening.

The fact is, we must tell other people what we want and need. Dr. Phil is notorious for admonishing that we must teach other people how to treat us. Don’t waste time being a martyr in order to get what you need. Doing so assumes that others don’t want to give you what you need, and it makes it harder on everyone.

Relying on others to fulfill your needs takes far more energy than most of us have. I give myself a birthday present each year. Or I flat-out tell David that I want this book or that blanket.

Alice Roosevelt Longworth perfectly summed up my perspective. She said, “I have a simple philosophy. Fill what’s empty. Empty what’s full. Scratch where it itches.” If I need a girls-day-out, I don’t beat around the bush, hoping for someone to take the hint and then try to hit the nail on the head in terms of exactly how what I’m hoping to be asked to do. I call a girlfriend and say, “I need a day out. When are you available?” It’s the quickest path to getting what I need. Which is fantastic, because I don’t have a lot of extra time on my hands.


Get all the rules that will have you on your way to a state of 95% sane and balanced (because, let's be honest, 100% sane and balanced simply doesn't exist) here

*And, yes, you can use code INSTALOVE for 20% off -- but only through February 9th! 


How do you give yourself the little blue box on a regular basis? Or what would you like to (publicly) commit to start doing for yourself? I'll hold you accountable; I promise! Leave a comment below - share the wisdom; you never know who you will inspire! 

Carry on! 

  • Author avatar
    Elizabeth Lyons
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