It is so easy for most of us to take care of other people, to run around making sure everything gets done, to look after, to offer, to give. But how good are we at taking care of ourselves?
I’ll get to it tomorrow. As soon as I finish this project/load of laundry/deadline/errand. Tomorrow, for sure! we promise ourselves as we fall into bed exhausted. There’s a big part of us that wants it to end. And then there’s a part of us that can kind of get into being so helpful, so giving, so noble. After all, what would all those people in our lives do without us to look after them?
Well darling, what about you? What about what you want?
You do not have the capacity to give fully to others unless you also receive. If your tank is empty, you have nothing to offer – but you may keep trying, tapping that last vein for a little more blood before you pass out.
This is not you at your best.
This is you holding yourself small, even though it may feel like it has nothing to do with you and is all about what you give to others.
While it’s beautiful and giving, it’s also a way to cop out. A way to avoid facing what we really want. If we’re so tired we can’t think straight, how on earth could we possibly start that new healthy eating plan we had in mind? Or spend time writing our book? Or figure out how we’re going to quit our job so we can start that business we’ve always wanted?
The practice I offer you this week is related to self-care, with the intent of refuelling your body and spirit so that you have more to offer – when and how you want to offer your gifts to the world. For many of us, coming from many years of giving more than we are receiving means that we have a deficit of personal nourishment, which is the necessary foundation for us to do our best work and have our best life. It may feel big, but that’s ok. Do what you can.
Just for the next week, commit to this for yourself each day:
Set aside one hour every day for something you’ve been stalling on – something you really want to do but you haven’t made a priority. Go for a walk in the woods. Write. Dance. Nap. Take a bath. Map out your grand plan of your next trip, your new business, your great novel. Make this time sacred, where you will not interrupt or cancel this commitment to yourself.
Create the space as lovingly as possible, in terms of when in the day you plan it and how you create the environment. Make yourself a warm drink, light a candle, choose a soft blanket or flowers – whatever makes this time feel nurturing and welcoming. Let yourself have this. Just for one hour a day, for one week. And then maybe next week you’ll keep doing it. Or maybe it will be two hours. Let it evolve, see what it has to tell you about who you are and how you can show up in the world when your tank is full.