We like to think of ourselves as caring people, and this we naturally are. Most if not all of us do care deeply for other people. But how many of us care just as deeply for ourselves? And how true can the care we offer others be, if it does not come from a body that is deeply cared for itself?
I used to think I was a kind and caring person and would do anything for others.
I came to realise that if I was caring for another at my own expense, I was not in fact delivering true care.
I found this understanding difficult to accept at first, such were my rose-coloured pictures of myself, but once I did come to this conclusion, because I actually do care deeply about people, and would not harm them for the world, I started to work on caring for myself more deeply.
This was not so easy at first. Old ideals around self-care being selfish were hard to let go of, and I had children, who also needed caring for. Juggling everyone’s needs as a woman, wife, mother and health care professional was not always easy!
But little by little, I began to care for myself more deeply and the more I did, the more I felt myself opening up, expanding, and having more room in my heart for others.
Life became more simple, more joyful, more honest and open and real.
I was either caring for myself, or not. I was either caring for others, or not.
Now this does not mean cleaning up after them, doing things they should be doing, or otherwise pandering to them, but asking and allowing everyone to assume responsibility for their own lives, and helping them when and where it was needed.
This actually opened up a great deal more time and space, as I was no longer living in exhaustion, overwhelm and overdrive, and I started to find moments where I could just let myself be, without feeling the overwhelming need to do something.
These moments are still rare, but greatly treasured, and I now care for myself deeply, in a way that I could not have imagined possible a few years ago… and the more I care for me, the more I can care for everyone else in my life… a win/win for us all.
Anne M., Australia
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