We cannot give to others something which we do not have. Yet so often in life we are told to take care of others first. Take a step back for a moment and consider this: how long can we maintain our own function when we repeatedly give to others while depleting ourselves?
This is much like over-farming. Farmers, prior to the industrialization of agriculture, would rotate crops to assist with avoiding nitrogen depletion of the soil.
Yet, as a society we seem to value giving until it hurts. This leads to depleted caregivers in hospitals caring for the ill and infirmed. Meanwhile, parents are running themselves ragged giving and doing. We cannot raise crops in depleted soil nor can we nurture others with depleted souls.
Continually we are told it is shameful and selfish to take care of ourselves. I beg you (and I don’t like begging) to reconsider this belief we have been endoctrinated with. If your own cup is empty, how can you truly fill someone else’s?
Another side of this is that we often treat ourselves the way our caregivers treated us as young children. If we felt abandoned or neglected as children, we often abandon and neglect our own needs. Maybe we’re good at taking care of our physical needs, but lack self-care for emotional and spiritual needs.
In the void of self-care, we reach for things outside ourselves to fill the emptiness. Drinking alcohol, social media absorption, sex/sexual release, dating sites, taking excessive responsibility for others, dating relationships and blogging to name a few (all areas where I have sought refuge).
Follow your heart to change the tides. There you will find your path. Self-care is not selfish. Only you can hear your heart’s words (with a few exceptions), and your own energy is the best salve for the wounds left by depleted caregivers.
Please look inside at where you carry forward the pain from yesterday. Self-care is a life long process. It can either be life-sustaining or depleting. Which type of garden or field do you desire to live within?
Photo credit: © Nielshariot | Dreamstime.com – Woman Looking At Self Reflection In Mirror Photo