Seems like evrywhere I look these days, I am reminded of the importance of taking care of ourselves.
We are pretty self-centered in many ways. When something happens, we tend to think about how it will impact our own lives. When someone is upset we think “what did I do to make him angry?” When we plan for retirement, we think about what we will need.
Nothing wrong with taking care of self. I’ll get back to that thought in a minute.
Many of us are “other-focused”, therefore we put the needs of others ahead of ourselves. Sometimes to the detriment of our own mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health.
Maybe I’m thinking of social workers, doctors, nurses, firefighters, therapists, mom, teachers, co-dependents…you know, those people that we count on to be there when we need them.
Not a thing in the world wrong with people who are willing to be there for us. After all, what would we do if there were no firefighters to run INTO the blaze. How would we learn our ABC’s without dedicated teachers? And mom…dear old mom. No one has life without her.
My mind just wandered back a few decades to my boyhood home in suburban Detroit. My parents raised nine of us hellians. I was number seven…the number of perfection, completion. See? I’m thinking of myself!
My mom is famous for the fact she has done at least one load of laundry (usually several) every day of her adult life. Mostly out of neccessity. Yes, that includes 66 Christmases. It also includes 66 Thanksgivings, birthdays, Mother’s Day, Yom Kippur…I think you get the picture.
I remember coming home from school every day to find her lying on her side, asleep on the living room couch. I was sure she had been eating bon bons while watching General Hospital or As The World Turns. As soon as we came thru the door she popped up off the couch, blew kisses to us as she raced to the kitchen to prepare dinner. Little did I know she had been lying on the couch for two or three minutes at the most.
How often do you suppose she treated herself to some time for herself? How may hours do you suppose she spent at the nail salon getting a mani/pedi? And how often did she make an appointment at the massage parlor to relax those worn out muscles. Zero. Free time for her consisted of the nine and a half seconds it took to walk down the steps to the basement. That’s where the laundry room was.
I’m not advocating for moms to spend their days at the nail salon or massage parlor every day. Sorry mom. Most moms simply don’t have that luxury. And dad…when you come home from a long day at work you want to plop down in the Lazy-Boy and nurse a brewski. I get it. Just know that mom probably would enjoy that too. But she is in the kitchen whipping up a feast. And I realize the day of the stay-at-home-mom is a distant memory…she works all day and comes home to whip up a feast too!
For some odd reason, I have singled out mom as the other-focused one that needs to put herself first sometimes. I’m not a mom but it’s important for me too.
When we give, give, give…we run out of stuff to give. We have limited energy. All I am saying is give some of that energy to yourself. Take time to recharge. Have compassion when you fail. Forgive yourself when you snap at Tommy for tracking mud into the kitchen. He probably deserved the rebuke as much as you deserve the forgiveness.
As we are filling everyone else’s cups, keep in mind: You cannot fill another’s cup with your empty pitcher.