The Joy of Being Pampered

Michelle Stimpson & Bill Stimpson_Celebrity Solstice

This photo is from a moment I won’t ever forget. It captures one of the formal nights on our recent Caribbean cruise – Bill and I made reservations in the ship’s specialty Asian restaurant, Silk Harvest.

The dim lighting, rich ambience, peaceful atmosphere, and soothing sounds of cultural music with water fountains did me in. And if that wasn’t enough, our lovely waiter, Corsino, waltzed over to greet us and announce that he would be taking fantastic care of us that night. His soft gentleman-like voice, laser-focused eye contact, and welcoming body language spoke a thousand stories to me. It felt as though a knight rode up on a white horse.

For a moment, I wasn’t even sure that I deserved such all-encompassing pampering treatment.

I had to use everything within me to hold back from breaking down as he spoke to us.

As soon as Corsino headed back to the kitchen, though (on his imaginary horse), I lost it.

Bill knows me all too well and didn’t even flinch when I started to cry. He knew what this was all about.

My need to be cared for

There’s something at the core of my being that so deeply appreciates being taken care of. I’m not talking about the type of care where I’d want someone else to do something for me that I could do on my own. I’m not talking about shirking my independence (which I love) or my responsibility for my own life. And I’m not talking about selfishness.

I’m talking about the intrinsic, basic human need to be loved, to be cared for, to be valued, to be tended to, to be honored, to be treated special.

I’m so grateful to have grown up in a family where I felt very loved. So, as Bill Murray’s character said in Caddyshack: “So I got that goin’ for me…which is nice.” And if you’ve read one ounce of this blog, you know that I’ve got the best husband. In the world. So, it’s all good. It’s not like I’m lacking.

So what was the big deal?

Recently I figured out what the crux of all this emotion was for me. As I was leading a time management workshop full of business women, I told the group that often times – especially for women – it’s so easy to take care of everyone and everything else, that we lose sight of ourselves in the process. In coaching my clients, I see it over and over again.

This time when I said it out loud, though, I realized that I’m talking about myself here, too.

Now, I’m pretty good at knowing what my needs are and communicating those needs (Bill will tell you that’s true). But because I’m hard-wired to think of other people, to anticipate their individual needs, to put myself in their shoes, to cheer them on, to genuinely desire for them to succeed – and because my profession focuses on it – I have to pay extra special attention to my need to be nurtured…the way I inherently care for others.

I literally melt when someone goes the extra mile for me. Or intentionally acknowledges me. Or takes extra special care of me. Or goes out of their way to say something nice. Or cheers me on in who I am. Or gives me the thumbs-up on a blog post or leaves a supportive comment. With me, none of it goes unnoticed, and it’s deeply appreciated. These little gestures carry me for a long time.

Did you read the post Opening Yourself Up To Receiving where I got to be a VIP for a day? I have to consistently remind myself to stay open to letting all the good stuff in. I need it. And I bet you do, too.

I love this shot of me early in the morning about to board our flight, pre-cruise, headed for Fort Lauderdale. I love it because the joy in my face is palpable:

Michelle Stimpson_Airport

Early morning excitement at the airport

In this moment, I knew what lie just hours ahead of me once I boarded the cruise ship – ultimate pampering and being fully taken care of…for a whole week! And of course in Michelle fashion, the tears came as soon as I stepped aboard the Celebrity Solstice. I was welcomed by a crew member who treated me as though I was the only one boarding the ship, and then he handed me a glass of champagne. As I walked further in to the ship, the voice of one of the musicians echoed throughout the atrium as he belted out James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain” with his guitar.

Another one of those times I thought I might lose it. :)

We each have a job to do

So. Knowing that this type of ‘care’ is core to my being, it’s up to me to ensure that I get enough of it in my life. I’ve made a list of all the things that speak to that need. I get regular massages – that’s one of my favorite self-care activities. I treat myself to quiet lunches out, just me. And just last night I honored myself by creating a spa atmosphere in our master bathroom: I filled our oversized tub with warm water, lit a ton of candles and turned off the lights, popped in my “Relaxation” CD, and let myself just ‘be’; just be taken care of.

Relaxing Bath

Making spa-time at home a priority; the sign above the tub: “Celebrate Life”

My clients often talk about needing ‘permission’ in order to give to themselves. So this message is for clients, colleagues, friends, and readers:

Give yourself permission to be taken care of and nurtured. Honor yourself and make it non-negotiable. Starting today.

I love this quote by George Bernard Shaw: “Better keep yourself clean and bright. You are the window through which you must see the world.” Perfect.

It’s up to each of us to know what it is that we individually need. It will look different for each person. I LOVE bringing joy to others. And I will continue to do that because it’s what fuels me. It’s what’s central to my being. In order to keep doing that effectively, though, it’s absolutely essential that I give to myself first…so that I’ve got an abundance of reserves to share with others and with the world.

Michelle Stimpson_Celebrity Solstice Solarium

In the ship's solarium, taking time to indulge 'me'

I appreciate all of life. And I’m intentional about every single thing I do. When I write about taking off for the Caribbean, or embarking on a road-trip, or making my favorite concerts a priority – it’s never simply what it seems and should never be taken at face-value. It’s always about me, taking care of me, and tapping into the joy of self-care – so that I can be of better service to the world.

It’s about me following my joy.

And so how about you? What do you need? What will you do to take care of you?

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18 Responses to “The Joy of Being Pampered”

  • Lance says:

    Okay, so I grew up feeling very loved, also. And I have that today, too, in my life. The thing is, I also have had this belief that I am independent and capable. Because of that, my inclination is to do for myself whatever I can.

    Anyway, I remember this time where my coworkers did something for me, to celebrate a special occasion. At first it was hard to accept, this feeling of love from another. Why? Why would I limit letting this love in??

    Today, I *think* I’ve become better at being okay with that. Because the truth is, it feels so good. And why limit that feeling.

    So, I read here today – and I love all that you have shared…this very personal experience, and how meaningful the little things are. Michelle, you shine what is right and good in this world.

    As much as I fully agree with everything you have said here, and how important self-care and self-love are – I stop here today, and really let these words of yours enter my soul. And from that, I let the beauty of what you have shared more fully become part of my being. My hope – that as I step away here today, I am open even more to letting love in, in all the wonderful places it presents itself…

    Much, much love to you…

  • Renee says:

    Michelle, I absolutely love opening my inbox and finding your messages! They make my day!!!

    I will take these words

    “Give yourself permission to be taken care of and nurtured. Honor yourself and make it non-negotiable. Starting today.”

    with me starting today and make this a priority in my life! This will be my resolution going forward for 2011! Thank you for always reminding me of the importance of intention and appreciating all that is around me!

  • Donna says:

    I think you write the most beautiful articles. Always so uplifting. I too have to remember to take care of myself. I am always so good at taking care of others. So that’s my new year’s resolution to myself. Treat myself as I would treat others. Thanks for the reminder.
    Much love,

  • Deb Brown says:


    What a beautiful post. One of the aha’s I had in 2010 about my clients is that they are women who give a ton to their clients and others in their lives and they need someone who will “take care of them.” It is so important to not feel the need to do it all yourself and allow others to support you and take care of you so you have something to give back. You put it so well!

  • @ Lance: Such beautiful thoughts! It seems that so many of us have more work to continue to do relating to letting all the good stuff in. Thank you so much for sharing your deep and insightful thoughts and for riding the journey with me. I am truly honored. Thanks, Lance!

    @ Renee: Yay! So happy to know that you appreciate receiving blog updates. And it’s wonderful to know that those words about ‘self-care’ have resonated with you as you move forward in 2011. You deserve it. :)

    @ Donna: Thank you! Yes, I believe we have to remind ourselves every day to take special care of ourselves. Otherwise, it’s too easy to get lost in the day-to-day business of life. Happy New Year to you and thank you for cheering me on!

    @ Deb: Thanks so much for reading and commenting. And how cool that you have created a business to help give others more time to actually indulge in self-care! Appreciate your supportive comment and wishing you all the best.

  • Perfect timing for this post Michelle – right now Mary Beth and I are pampering ourselves in beautiful Marco Island. We are having a great trip and getting ready to return to reality – but not for a few days yet.


  • Cheryl says:

    Michelle, that was beautiful! You have such a gift in your writing. You touched my heart….

  • Jane says:

    After seeing that photo of the candle lit tub, I will venture forth and enjoy! Thanks for reminding me to be still Michelle. Love you!

  • Nancy says:

    You really are an amazing person!! And I love this!

  • @ Alex: Ahhh…I’m smiling thinking of you and Mary Beth in Marco Island, enjoying life – and each other. Breathe it all in and revel in every moment of this ‘break’!

    @ Jane: Yeah, those reminders are helpful, huh? I know you will enjoy your day and treat yourself. :)

    @ Cheryl & Nancy: Thanks for the love!

  • Tracy says:

    Hi Michelle,

    I love this…and I love the light that you shine through your blog posts! Thank you for the reminder to take care of ourselves. It is certainly hard as a stay at home mom of a toddler and wife of a very busy executive. Keeping everyone else in order seems to take first priority.

    This morning though I did take care of myself…I let my daughter watch Sesame Street twice and poured a second cup of coffee and curled up on the couch with her and read a magazine – It is noon and I still haven’t showered – that is okay and I am going to throw in a pilates dvd…(while the laundry is going and knowing I’ll dust later!). I appreciate your post because it is making me realize even the little ways we take care of ourselves do need to be celebrated.

    I am also adding the Shaw quote to the fridge – I love it.

    Thank YOU for being you and know that you do make a difference in a lot of people’s lives. Today you made a difference in mine :-)

  • Bill says:

    Very well said – we all need to be pampered! The big bonus for me is that I get to receive “collateral” pampering just by hanging out with you so much! :)

  • Mary says:

    BEAUTIFUL, Michelle! And so right on!

    I appreciate how honest you were in claiming your need for self-care and nurturing. I totally understand, and I too am learning the lesson of being a ‘receiver’.

    THANK YOU for the profound reminder that I am valuable enough to be taken care of like a priceless gift.

  • Zane says:

    Thank you, Michelle!

    Yesterday I made a list of things “to do” in order to get it all out of my head and down on paper. This morning I realized I have a HUGE list of “work” and no “fun”. So….just before reading “The Joy of Being Pampered”, I decided to create a 2nd list of fun, relaxing things that I want to do.

    I’m also one who tends to take care of everyone else and not myself, so your gentle reminder is truly appreciated. Thanks for sharing your joy with us!!

    PS There were a few tears when I was reading….AND I really want to go on a cruise now!!

  • @ Tracy: Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with this fantastic comment! It actually felt a little (a lot) vulnerable to publish this post, so I value your feedback. I have much respect and admiration for you as a mom…and I appreciate knowing that you ‘celebrated’ yourself yesterday – amen! It’s so important, especially for moms. Thank you for filling my heart today. :)

    @ Billy: Too sweet. Aren’t we incredibly blessed?!

    @ Mary: We all certainly need those reminders and I love how you said that you are “valuable enough to be taken care of like a priceless gift.” Eloquently stated…and so true! Thanks for sharing your heart here, Mary.

    @ Zane: Great insight to realize the importance of highlighting the ‘fun’ stuff, too. Glad to know you made a separate list! So happy to know that the post resonated with you…so here’s to more joy, fun, and pampering in 2011! And a cruise isn’t a bad way to do it. :)

  • Tina B. says:

    I have just had such an overwhelming epiphany that I’m still processing it!

    I have struggled with my weight for years and have recently started working through the emotional componants to it. My very supportive husband agreed that I could put $100 in a special account for every pound lost and we could take a special trip to a tropical beach of my choice.

    While I was reading this post I realized what I had done. I told myself that was too much money, I told myself that was selfish and so, without talking to my husband, I had mentally changed plans. I decided I would use most of the money for something more practical and take the family to the Oregon coast with the remaining.

    I told myself that I wasn’t worth it! I told myself that I didn’t deserve to be pampered. And I started binge eating the next day and hid this memory away….until today.

  • @ Tina: Wow, thank you so much for sharing this poignant story. I had to read it a few times to let the magnitude of it sink in. Such a powerful learning here, and in my eight years of coaching – it’s a story that I know so many of us can relate to. Really appreciate you taking the time to share it here. Treat this epiphany as a ‘gift’ – one that you can use as a launching pad to now live life differently; to now allow yourself to be treated and to be pampered. You deserve that. And I hear that tropical beach still calling you…

    Wishing you all the best, Tina, and much love to you! :)

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Michelle Stimpson: Editor/Writer

Michelle Stimpson Hi and thanks for visiting - so glad you're here! This blog is especially for cool people who want to experience joy and live a life of purpose. Welcome!

Here you'll find great stories that will inspire you and remind you that life is good, and there's an abundance of joy all around us. Simply put: When you follow the things in life that make you come alive and bring you joy...the magic begins to unfold.

Start by checking out the "Best Of" page and be sure to consider subscribing above. Thank you and cheers to joy!

Michelle Joy Stimpson
Executive Editor & Writer
Life Coach, LifeShine

Bill Stimpson: Partner-In-Crime

Bill Stimpson Hi! Not only will you see me “show up” in many of Michelle’s stories and posts here, but I also serve as Michelle’s editor, helping her clarify intentions and make her posts shine.

One of the great joys in my life is being involved with this blog! It’s a constant reminder for me to focus on the things that bring me joy. It also feels great to be sharing so many of these joys with you - in hopes that you, too, will find ways to focus on your own joyful experiences.

Here's to an abundance of joy in your life!

Bill Stimpson
Hubby & Associate Editor

The Parent Company

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