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by Nancy D. on 09/07/18

I hate hearing the words self-care.  To me, that should be a no brainer, yet over the years I have found it is the one thing I have neglected to do.  I struggle to do things just for myself.  I struggle to give to myself before I give to others.  Coming along and having children and a husband, I thought that is what I was supposed to do. Selflessly give to my kids, make sure my husband was happy and needed nothing, make sure the animals were well taken care of, everyone and anyone before myself.

I know that I have posted in other blog posts, that in my family, we were taught to be very self-LESS.  So, giving to myself before I give to anyone else, is an absolute foreign concept.  I see mother's today, who go to the gym, get their nails done, make sure their roots are never exposed, seem to really do a lot of self-care.  This would have been deemed "selfish" for me to have taken this kind of time on a daily or weekly basis for myself.  I find myself sometimes thinking, when I see that well kept young mother in her spandex just coming from the gym...."well, I see she puts herself above anyone else".  

Now a days, I see that when we do give to ourselves, we are able to give from our plenty.  I know that when I get up in the morning and give myself a few moments to read something, or listen to something that I need, or go run errands for myself that I have been putting off for months and months, or browse through a magazine and really, truly, relax......I actually have more to give to others than when I hoard complete selflessness.  I can give from my plenty, because I gave something to myself, first.

It's a hard thing to juggle, when you have demands of a job, kids, grandkids, home, figure out to take something for you first, so you can give quality to others after.  I notice I can give quantity.  I can give to others in large doses.  But, is the quality of that care and love really there, because I'm knee-jerking the giving? As needed?  When needed? How much ever, needed? 

We were at church every single time the doors were open when I was growing up.  To listen to stories from the Bible, have been engrained in my core.  I don't care for "religion", but I am a spiritual being.  If I were to follow the stories of Jesus.....he was a giver.  He was a doer.  But he gave from his plenty, when he gave.  When I read the 12 steps of Al-anon or any other 12 step program, it all goes back to "me".  When I listen to shows about "universal energy", it comes back to being grateful, gratitude and putting an intention out there from that place, and the universe will align so you will get.   None of these, the bible, 12-step programs, universal energy, ever say one thing about self-LESSness.  

Gratitude is about what we have.  Prayer to a Higher Power is about connection, between me and It. The 12-steps are about the person in it.  

I can make things happen for any induvidual, if I put all of my energy into it.  I can be a good employee, I can be the best mom and grandmother, I can make anything happen that anyone else wants, for my boss, kids, grandkids, friends.  I'm a fixer.  For them....then, I'm exhausted, they benefit and I have the temporary satisfaction of being able to help, in that particualar situation.  Then, I come back to my world, exhausted, alone for all of my efforts, and begin trying to catch up on the things I have needed to do all day or all week, that I have neglected, so that I can do for everyone else.  I pull double-duty all the time.  

It sure would go a lot smoother for me.....if I fixed all my stuff first, then gave from my reserve to someone else, rather than exhausting all my efforts on them and leaving barely anything for myself.  Then, I just throw, exhausted, depleted efforts at what I have left to do.  No one is dropping everything they are doing to make my life better or easier.

That right there, is the bottom I always end up at.  People pleasing is my disease.  I get a temporary high, because I accomplished something, but none of it was for me.  I would get a longer, concentrated, lifetime satisfaction, if I did the opposite and focused my good energy into investing into my needs as a person, not in a narcissistic way, but accomplished my goals, THEN when I have reserves and am still reeling from my high, give from my plenty, then.

When you look at the evidence, this should be a no-brainer.  Why is it so hard to live this way?  It really is simple, but our self-will and pre-programed core beliefs do the opposite.

We have to break the cycle.  What do we have to lose?

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