Some days, you feel empty. Maybe you woke up feeling that way. Maybe too many took from you this morning and you’re just exhausted by noon. But you’re a lightworker and a nurturer - we all are - and we’re lucky to be alive and present. Giving cannot be conditional if we want a better world.
So how does one continue to give to others when their tank is on E?
Answers are closer than they appear, and I’m about to flip this whole post on you.
If you’re on E, it’s because you neglected yourself.
Fill Your Cup
Being selfless and a martyr looks good on paper, but it catches up to you after a while - please take it from me on this one. If you continually put yourself last, you’re not properly serving those around you. In my experience, there are two ways that you can put yourself last: by making others the priority over yourself or by avoiding taking care of yourself.
If you’re in camp 1, and you put everyone before yourself, it’s time to bring that back into balance. Schedule time in your day for self care and self reflection. You can’t know how you’re feeling if you’re not checking in with yourself. Advocate for your needs - it’s not selfish. Tell others what you need in order to feel happy and validated and get those needs met. You can do more for those around you if you are supported and well.
If you’re in camp 2, it’s likely you’re in an avoidance pattern. Think of yourself as a plane stuck in a holding pattern, waiting to land. You know what you need to do to get better, but you’re not doing it. Really be honest with yourself here. What are you doing to avoid yourself? What coping mechanisms are taking center stage while your health and wellness dwindle in the background? Look at your activities, thought patterns, eating habits, etc. objectively as though someone else were doing them. If you’re not cool with these things, it’s time for a change. We all fall into this trap sometimes - but we must see it for what it is and climb back out. My advice: create rules and goals for yourself and get disciplined about them. Hold yourself accountable and treat yourself with love. You wouldn’t poison someone you love; so why would you do that to your own mind, body, and spirit? Get disciplined, and thank me later when you feel more proud of yourself than you ever have before.
Take Back Ownership
It’s your fault if your pet does not get fed. It’s your fault if your children don’t make it to school. We would blame ourselves if those who depend on us are not being taken care of. So why do we blame others and external factors when we don’t take care of ourselves? We self sabotage constantly. People mistreat us, so we mistreat ourselves further. Why is the instinct to do more damage to ourselves, rather than to repair and rebuild? I’m going to challenge you: the next time someone hurts you, instead of binging on ice cream and Netflix, go write poetry and meditate in the sun. The next time you’ve worked a long hard week, instead of spending your weekend high or hungover, go swimming at the gym, spend quality time with family, and play an instrument. When you’re lonely, go sing your heart out at a concert. When you’re depressed, start writing self-help blogs. When you’re anxious, lift weights. The choices you make directly impact your wellness; and no matter how you are mistreated, you get to choose how that affects your life. When we own our decisions, we also own our outcomes.
Find Your Gratitude
It’s more effortless to give when you feel grateful. So, in those challenging moments, come back to a place of gratitude for each opportunity to make life better. Forgive yourself when you forget to feel gratitude, and attempt to remember quicker each time you lapse. And if you’re reading this, and do not see any reason to feel gratitude in this moment, let me give you a few: you’re breathing, you have access to the internet, you have the ability to reach out to others, you’ve been given the gift of today and you can begin fresh. If those around you won’t allow you to have a fresh start, begin without them. Find the strength to see life as something worth being grateful for.
Remember that your ability to be consistent is one of the greatest gifts you can give to those around you. But it’s also a tremendous gift to yourself as well. So take care of yourself, ask others to be a reflection for you if you can’t admit these things to yourself just yet, and choose today to start anew.