Self-Care for Over-Givers
Aug 03, 2020
Does your day begin with other people in mind? Perhaps you wake up in the morning with the best of intentions to share your gifts with others in the best way possible. You have hopes and dreams for the people you care for, your children, your clients, your patients, your customers, your family, and your friends. You do it because you are a giver. You have a big heart with extra love to give. Nothing is more meaningful or brings you more joy than to help ease someone else’s pain, to inspire them, to care for them, to teach them, to make them feel better.
You are attentive to everyone’s needs. You spend your day, on a sort of “selfless service automatic pilot”, extending your resources to others, whether it is finding creative solutions to improve your clients’ businesses, your customers’ lives, or your patients’ health, listening to your coworkers’ marital problem around the water cooler, offering a helping hand to a charity, organizing a bake sale for your kids’ school or a meal chain for your sick neighbor, driving your kids around to their extracurricular activities, spending an hour on the phone with your elderly mother, all the while making sure you are emotionally available for your kids and your partner at the end of the day.
Even with all this “noble accomplishment”, when the day winds down and you have a brief moment to stop for the first time in the day and contemplate, it somehow feels like you didn’t do enough, that in fact you forgot many things and you didn’t do everything you had hoped you would. You are hard on yourself, and you blame yourself first. Your thoughts are judgmental toward you. You don’t feel fulfilled, and you definitely don’t feel content. So many people benefitted from your radiant energy, yet you feel anything but radiant right now. You are depleted, exhausted, and you might feel anxious, agitated, or even a little resentful, like something is missing, something significant is lacking.
Stopping to contemplate feels overwhelming so you look for something to numb the unease, to take the edge off, like a glass of wine, Netflix, shopping, blaming others for your discomfort, maybe even picking a fight with a loved one, looking for some sort of validation for the way you feel. Guilt sets in, and you feel even worst.
And when you hit the pillow and let sheer exhaustion take you into sleep, a thought crosses your mind. You realize you haven’t spent one moment tending to your own emotional needs, hopes and dreams, your soul’s desires, subtle and not so subtle pain, inspiration, well-being, or quiet suffering.
You have heard it ad nauseam: you can’t pour from an empty cup; you have to put your mask on first. You tell yourself: maybe that’s why I lost it tonight and said things I didn’t mean. My cup was empty. Tomorrow, it will be different, you tell yourself. I’ll make sure I take some time for me.
Yet the next day is just like the last. Good intentions remain just that, intentions, without action to change things. Weeks, months, and years go by, and nothing major changes.
You might become filled with regrets about your life. Your health might begin to deteriorate; your productivity goes way down. Your level of fatigue is overwhelming, and no medical explanation can bring answers to why you feel the way you do.
Maybe a crisis happens to make you realize: this is not working. Or maybe one day you just stop long enough to see: you are more worn out than you thought, and your general well-being is suffering greatly.
You are starting to burn out. Or you are already there. You don’t feel like yourself, and you realize it’s been going on for a long time. You feel the urgency to do something about it, like your life might depend on how you handle this. But you don’t know where to start.
Whether you have fully hit the proverbial wall or are on your way to a burnout, I want you to know I see you, because I was there. I hear you. I want you to know there is another way of living, another way of caring for the people you care about that will fulfill you, energize you, and bring you contentment and inner freedom.
Please accept this gift, from one carer to another. It is called Core Star Meditation. It is a powerful practice to help you remember the incredibly resourceful and wise light-being that you are. It is designed to recharge your batteries and reconnect with what truly matters: your ability to serve in a way that enlivens you and brings results.
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