Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Taking Care of Ourselves vs. Taking Care of Others

Jumping in Puddles had a good point in a comment she made about my last post. She asked about taking care of others vs. taking care of ourselves. In fact, I was a little surprised that all the comments referred to our ability to make others feel better even though the bulk of the post was about believing in ourselves.

The thing is that it’s easier, in some ways, to focus on helping others. It means we don’t have to look at our self-doubts or fears. It’s so much easier, too, to see how others could do things differently than to see what other choices we could be making.

Ultimately, though, the quality of our lives depends on our ability to help ourselves. It depends on our ability to face those fears and find a way to let them go. It depends on our willingness to consider new ways of doing things and to challenge the assumptions we may not even have realized we were holding onto.

The truth is that even if what we want most in the world is to help others, we can’t do that unless we begin with ourselves. If we don’t take care of us, we’ll burn out. If we don’t find a way to accept ourselves, there will be a level on which we resent accepting others. If we don’t treat ourselves with kindness and respect, we’ll sooner or later resent treating others with kindness and respect.

It goes back to making the lists of things we like about ourselves. It goes back to making sure we do things that make us smile—every single day. It goes back to treating ourselves with kindness and respect even if—especially if!—no one else around us does so.

I believe in all of you. I hope that you’re all able to believe in yourselves. Sending blessings and safe and gentle (((((((hugs))))))),
April_optimist

6 comments:

Karma said...

This was a very hard lesson for me - something that took years to learn. Thanks for the reminder. Especially as a caretaker (albeit long distance), its easy to put those needing care first.

keepers said...

It is a balancing act isn't it? remembering to take care of ourselves so we are better able to help others,
of course we also need to accept that we are worth it!

peace and blessings

keepers

jumpinginpuddles said...

read this three times the thing is i never believe im worth anything (my recent blog can prove that)

April_optimist said...

It's hard for everyone. I posted about it again today. The irony is that as I read your blogs and your comments here, I see all of you as worthy of love and kindness and respect! And yet I know that knowing other people see me that way hasn't always meant that I could see it about myself.

motherwintermoon said...

Wonderful words of wisdom. Yes, to truly help others, we must begin with helping ourselves. I have something posted in my sidebar entitled "We all Want.." It goes through a list of things we all need and want, and ends with "We need something to believe in and it should begin with believing in ourselves."

Thank you for your affirming presence.

April_optimist said...

Motherwintermoon,

I love the message on your site about what we all want. Very powerful and true.