Why it’s not selfish to take care of you!
Are you often viewed as ‘the rock’? Are you constantly frazzled looking after everyone else’s needs and wishes and putting your own on the back-burner? Do you feel guilty when you take time out for you?
Let’s flip that on it’s head…we all know that the airlines remind us to ‘fit our own oxygen masks first’ before helping others, of course, you can’t help others if you’ve passed out yourself through lack of oxygen! This applies in everyday life too, you can’t look after others; your partner, your children, your family and your friends, unless you are taking care of your own physical and mental health and wellbeing too.
Allowing yourself (without guilt!) the time you need, means that you’ll be able to better support your family and friends when they need you. By looking after ourselves and taking the time to get in touch with our inner feelings, we are much better equipped to be there for others. Only you can do this, no-one else can do it for you, so it really is worth the time to listen to ourselves more with self-understanding and self-compassion.
Remember that it’s ok to say ‘no’ when you need to in order to look after yourself. If you’re running from one thing to another constantly trying to meet the needs of others, you’ll have no time to meet your own needs and run the risk of burn-out and sickness.
So don’t wait until you are exhausted, burnt out or sick until you start looking after yourself! Perhaps you could take time out for exercise, meet a friend for coffee, go for a massage, or it might occasionally mean having to say no to an invitation. Whatever you need to help you maintain a healthy balance will ultimately help both you and your loved ones to lead healthier and more fulfilling lives.
Many of us are taught not to be a ‘selfish’ as a child, so we spend our lives trying to meet everyone else’s needs at the expense of our own. In the end, if we can set a good example to our loved ones by taking care of our physical and mental wellbeing, it will benefit everyone.
So a final thought: ‘Self care is never a selfish act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give the care it requires, we do it not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives we touch’ (Parker Palmer).