HSEP19: Putting Yourself First; Selfish? Nope!
I had an excellent 1-1 session yesterday, where we explored the importance of taking care of yourself first; before you try to take care of others. Initially, the adorably confused mind thinks this is terribly selfish. However, in that session, I said something that just made so much sense.
"If you don't take care of the one who is taking care of others, then the caretaker will fail at taking care of others."
Also, practically, if you have a tool that does a job, and you don't care for that tool, then the tool will ultimately end up doing a poor job.
Think about a knife; you can go about cutting things over and over again, but if you don't extend regular care to the knife, then... it simply does a poor job. And! a dull knife is more dangerous than a sharp knife.
You know what..? As it relates to selfishness, I would suggest that it's more selfish NOT to take care of the knife, the tool, or the caretaker.
Selfishness is NOT about focusing on the reality of what you are. Real selfishness is about two things...
- Prioritizing your self-image (ego) over the reality of what is here and now.
- Related to the first: Demanding other people not be themselves, so you can protect or maintain your own illusions.
Compassionately, we can be incredibly selfish in our "helping other people." Often, we are only helping as a way of protecting our ego. We want people to like us, we want people to have certain thoughts about us, and we want to have certain thoughts about ourselves (our own ego.)
Effectively, we are not genuinely helping or being of service; we are pretending to help so that we can protect our illusions of imaginary self-importance. This can be so very subtle, to the point where we have convinced ourselves (self-deception) that our helping is genuine. Really though, we are terrified of "not being enough."
This form of selfish helping will ultimately result in some flavor of burn out- in the mind, body, and heart. It's in service to the unreal, the ego. It's in service to that which is only imaginary and not grounded in the authentic and sincere nature of what you are. Meaning... there's no self-care in it; you're not taking care of the vessel, and the vessel will deteriorate.
In the most beautiful way, there's a sort of magic that happens when you put yourself first in an authentic and true way. Helping others becomes effortless and energizing.
During my 1:1 session, I offered up the example of...
"One of the things you mentioned that really feeds your soul - is spending time with the horses. Do you recognize that in this act of self-care, doing what feeds you, you end up being of service to the horses - without even trying?"
Real Self-Care, isn't about doing the socially defined things that proclaim what people 'should' do. More so, it's about getting in touch with the reality of what you are and discovering what truly recharges your battery. Also, it's about honoring the reality of what you are; in the same way you would honor a tool used to do an important job.
I'm excited to explore this topic more during the live video broadcast for episode 19 of "Holding Space for Love to Be Seen."
See you soon.
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If you have questions about this topic, add them in the comments and I can address it on the live broadcast!