Take Care of Yourself Much?
June 15, 2017
It Is NOT Selfish To…
…take care of yourself.
You’re worth taking care of because your life and happiness matter, too.
People seem to really struggle with what it means to be selfish and selfless.
They think it’s selfish to take care of themselves. And somewhere along the way they’ve been led to believe that true selflessness means doing everything for everybody else at their own personal expense. So they never really do anything for themselves because it makes them feel guilty and, well, selfish!
I know. There’s a fine line between selfishness and selflessness that we must be careful not to cross unless we’re planning on joining Narcissists Anonymous. So let’s get clear about what we’re talking about here.
Sound Like Anyone You Know?
Let’s call her person A. She cares only about what she wants and organizes her life around the center of the universe which is – you guessed it – her.
She sees people and their requests as interruptions. She feels put off. And because it might interfere with her getting what she wants, she refuses to help. Her time is her time and she keeps it all to herself. She’s selfish. Narrow minded, too.
All day long, person B runs around with his hair on fire doing/getting everything that everybody else needs or wants.
He has very little freedom because he allows other people to control his daily agenda. They tell him where to go. They tell what to do. He’s doesn’t have a minute to himself to think because he’s busy.
Some people would describe his actions as admirable, maybe even sacrificial. They’d be quick to place him in the category of selflessness. Maybe. But I’m not so sure.
What I do know is that person A and B represent two extremes and what we need to do is meet somewhere in the middle. Balance.
Leading Yourself With Balance
Go ahead and take care of others. Meet their needs. Give. Serve. Live for something bigger than yourself. BUT while doing so, you MUST allocate some of your time and energy to taking care of yourself.
Sometimes you not only deserve a break but NEED a break. Learn to say no. Learn to be COMFORTABLE saying no.
If the needs and requests of others are unrealistic or have become just way too much, say no.
You’re not Atlas. The world WILL survive if you give your shoulders a rest every once in a while.
You matter. Your life matters. So build time into your day or week just for you. You require time to relax. You need a break from added stresses and pressure.
Here’s the really cool part: Taking time for you affords you the energy and emotional strength to give MORE of yourself in the long run. Otherwise you’ll burn out and start giving less and less and less until there isn’t anything more to give.
A person who has nothing left to give will often feel overwhelmed and depressed. It’s not unusual for them to become angry, bitter, resentful and frustrated with the world. Why? Because they don’t know how to effectively walk the tightrope between selfishness and selflessness.
A Lifetime Of Selflessness
Authentic selflessness meets the needs of others AND also the needs of ourselves.
Maintaining this give-and-take balance makes our service to others sustainable because we’re also taking care of ourselves throughout the journey.
When we don’t care for ourselves, eventually we lose the ability to care altogether.
Which would you rather prefer, being selfless for a little while or for your entire life?
Authentic Selflessness 101
One of the first things you need to decide when choosing to be selfless for the long haul is your boundaries.
So what are your boundaries?
How much access to your life will you give?
What’s off limits?
WHO is off limits?
At what point will you call “time out” for yourself to rest, recover and recharge so you can continue serving?
Taking care of yourself and others is a dance that requires delicate balance.
Some people serve to the point of burning out because they think that if they take a break people won’t like them anymore.
The truth is people know what it’s like to be stressed, exhausted and burned out. They will respect you even more for making your life a priority. And they will value you and your help even more too.
Create and implement your boundaries to keep selflessness vibrant and alive.
Strive to avoid extremes of selfishness and selflessness.
Be a person of strength for yourself and others.
Until next time, you take care of yourself.