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“Anything you do requires energy.” So begins the webpage by Dragos Roua dedicated to teaching people how to “pay themselves first.” Payment, however, has less to do with monetary compensation, and more to do with spiritual energy. This concept mingles closely with the yogic idea of Asteya, or “nonstealing.” Asteya “calls us to live with integrity and reciprocity,” Deborah Adele writes in her book The Yamas and Niyamas. Both concepts, of differing origins, speak one truth: give so that you may receive.

Roua asks readers to start paying attention “to all the energy we’re receiving.” We must be fully aware of the energy given back in order to appreciate it and use it. Energy comes to us in many ways, but often are not aware of it. Our colleagues who interact with us, strangers we pass and smile at us, a short chat with the woman behind the counter at lunch. This is all energy; be open to receiving it.

Stealing from others impedes reception of energy. Adele writes that “[w]hen we compare ourselves to others, we either find ourselves lacking, which makes us feel cheated, or we find ourselves superior, which leaves us feeling arrogant.” Instead of expending energy in comparisons, we can instead just be and lift others up in a positive light. Compliment a stranger. Help a struggling friend. Be the positive light you want in your own life.

This said, we must be cautious not to give energy away, to allow it to leak and not refill. Losing too much energy comes when we put others before ourselves, which sounds altruistic, but ignoring personal needs undermines the ability to serve others. Therefore, the theme of this blog: pay yourself first.

If you don’t help or support yourself before others, there will be no energy for others. As Roua says, “[i]f you’re giving away all your energy, you’ll end up weak, vulnerable and defeated.” We must not steal from ourselves, as Asteya dictates. Adele continues this definition by saying “[w]e need to take time to rest and to reflect and to contemplate.” Never stopping, never pausing to breathe will leave us powerless and vulnerable.

It is our responsibility to “pay ourselves first.” In order to find the energy and purpose to salvage our earth, community, friends and family, we must first care for and love ourselves.



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