If you're reading this article, it is obvious that you are a caring person. I fear we’ve been trained to care for others, but lack the self care to live a happy, fulfilled life.
To what degree do you sacrifice yourself to help someone else?
We all want to help people. I’ve made an entire career out of it! It feels incredible to be helpful, but I’ve found that I can easily deplete myself until I have nothing left to give.
I begin to resent the very people I feel called to help, not because they are doing anything to hurt me. I am the one hurting myself. If I want to help anyone, my action must come from the overflow of everything I do to care for myself. So I had to ask:
How can I best care for others and still care for myself?
It’s not just at work. I find this question particularly tough when it comes to my closest relationships — with family and friends. Where does the line exist between their “stuff” and mine?
I added this question to a committed daily meditation practice and I learned something huge:
Not everyone needs my help! That was a real ego killer for me. I find that worrying for others is often more about my own need to feel needed.
So I’ve created a checklist of four things to do when I get lost in caring for others above myself:
Removing yourself from the situation to see clearly before you react. Get clear on what’s your “stuff” and what’s theirs.
Start with you.
Focusing on how everything is an opportunity for my own growth keeps me from needing to fix others. I am turning my “fix them” into “fix me first”.
Notice your tendency to think about your response while listening to others, which is not TRULY listening. Ninety-five percent of the time, the best thing you can do for another is to listen and be compassionate.
Use your tools.
Have a meditation practice, go for a daily walk, get into a yoga class — do something that helps you stay in your own energy field.
A great mantra to take anywhere is: I love and cherish myself. I am grounded in my own being.
The world certainly needs you — not as a fixer — but simply as a thriving, loving person. Let your life be an example for others and you’ll be able to care for others while caring for yourself!