Raise your hand if you take better care of others than you do of yourself. (Why do I have the feeling that there is a sea of virtual raised hands?)
Sadly many people I meet readily identify with this statement. They grin knowingly, roll their eyes, and then laugh in self-recognition.
And, when I ask my follow-on question, “Why is this your reality?” the common answer is something along the lines of, “There aren’t enough hours in the day to take care of me, too.”
My next question usually hits a nerve. “Why is everyone more important than you?”
Well, isn’t that you’re really saying? Isn’t the true message: “I can get to everyone else’s needs but I can’t get to mine. I’m an afterthought. I don’t deserve as much nurturing as everyone else.”
So, here’s my take on what’s really going on. These people are afraid of being labeled with the S- word. You know, s-e-l-f-i-s-h. They believe that if they do something for themselves, they are taking away from someone else. It’s a zero-sum game. And by always putting the attention on others, it’s a way of feeling “needed” or “important”. It’s a way of being validated – by someone else.
And yet, what is the effect of constantly doing, doing, doing for others, and not caring for yourself? Part of the answer is exhaustion, exhaustion, exhaustion, and dead batteries.
What if we re-frame the perspective? What if we believe that by taking care of ourselves, we are better able to take care of others. By nurturing ourselves, we actually have more, not less, to give.
So, my challenge to you: take 30 minutes out of your day – every day – and spend them on you. What a delicious gift to give to yourself! Just a couple of rules, though: no multi-tasking, no interruptions, and no exceptions. This is time just for you. This is your time to recharge your batteries so you have the energy and stamina to manage your busy, busy life.
Oh, and tell those “yes, buts” to get on the next bus out of town. You’re worth 30 minutes a day!
Your call to action:
Make a list of 7 things you can do in 30 minutes to restore yourself. Write one item on each day of the coming week and set your intention to follow through. At the end of the 7 days, notice what has shifted within you.