On Facebook today I saw a beautiful graphic that said " Stop planting flowers in people's yards who aren't going to water them " that was shared and boy did that send a chill up my spine. The beauty of it, it's true. So often we spend more time watering someone else's yard rather than our own and before we know it our yards are wilted and without life. If you really stop and think about all the things you do for others and how you neglect yourself and your own self care you would realize that the scale isn't balanced at all. And, if you start to examine everything that you have done or continue to do for others and what is returned to you by them you might actually see that you've been working harder in the relationship than they ever were.
Now, we all love to do things for others. It makes us smile and being able to do things for others is in fact a blessing. I am not talking about those things. I am talking about the constant repeated pattern of doing and doing and receiving absolutely nothing in return. You know the type of people who would be too busy " with that thing " when you needed a hand. Those are the people I am talking about.
See, if there is one thing that I've learned from years of doing is that there are givers and there are takers in the world. The reality is they don't just " take " your willingness to jump up and resolve issues that aren't yours or run to their rescue when a need arises...they take so much more than that. They take your peace, your joy, in some cases your dignity and in others they take your sanity. You give and give out of love, respect and the willingness to promote a better path for them and with everything that you do they raise the bar one more level making you feel every time you meet their expectations you've got another level to go.
Sadly, I know that this sounds familiar to most. You probably feel frustrated, lost and tired. Exhausted in fact. Your well has run dry and your yard sounds a lot like " snap, crackle and pop " as you walk across it. The best advice I can give you, coming from someone who has " been there, done that and got the T Shirt " is to know your worth, but more importantly know your limits and make yourself accountable to them. Understand that it is okay to say "No" and it is okay to say " I'm sorry, that doesn't align with me right now " and take a time out for you. Self care is one of the most important things you will ever do for yourself. But, you have to have the willingness to set boundaries and in some cases put yourself ahead of someone else. For some people ( it was for me ) putting myself ahead of anyone else seemed selfish. Now, I am not talking about putting yourself ahead of your small children or someone who needs your physical or emotional help that is in your care. I am talking about putting yourself ahead of the constant takers in the world so that you have the strength for yourself or someone else when they really do need you.
Self care for some seems daunting but it is in fact so simple. Our busy and often very loud brains make it seem like a chore. You know when you sit down to read that book and all of the sudden your brain starts yelling at you to do the laundry you didn't get to earlier or write the article you didn't publish or ...or...or.... Listen, those things will be there in fifteen minutes. Take a time out go sit outside, read the book, write the blog, grab a hot tea or latte, sit in the sun, ground in the dirt. We only miss and regret the chances we didn't take.