Most of us have been brought up to be kind and compassionate. Many of us react with sympathy when shown the photograph of an abused animal or neglected child. Quite a number of people donate to various charities and serve on committees to help alleviate the needs of others. Many of us are empaths and many are rescuers. The world needs each and every compassionate person. It cries out for kindness and comfort. However, the downfall of many compassionate people is that they do not take care of themselves first. They harbour the false belief that taking care of oneself is being selfish. Subconsciously they believe that other people and their needs are more important than their own. They will even end up putting the needs of other people above the needs of their own family or loved ones. However, this finally leads to emotional burn-out. It drains the carer and depletes their energy stores. This can eventually lead to the manifestation of physical ailments. Therefore it is important that we learn to, first of all, be kind to ourselves. We have to provide in our own needs before we have anything to give to others. We have to fill our own emotional piggy bank before we can give to others. One of my husband's quotes is that I can only give somebody ten bucks if I have ten bucks in my pocket.
So how do I take care of myself? First of all, make time for yourself. On a daily basis, set aside specifically allocated time for yourself to do whatever it is which gives you joy. Whether it is ten minutes or half-an-hour of yoga, listening to music or practicing your hobby. make time for yourself.
Try to avoid negativity. The television and newspapers make sure they supply us with a high dosage of terror, disaster and general negativity. This constant bombardment finds its way into our psyche and weighs us down. Then, evaluate where, how and in what way can you help others. Understand what is within your power and ability to do. Look at your sphere of influence and start there. Be realistic. You can most likely not do much about the plight of the refugees in some faraway country, but maybe you can help out at a soup kitchen. It might not be possible for you to change the global danger of earth-warming, but you can try to live greener in your immediate neighbourhood.
Pick your battles carefully and never at the cost of your own health, or your family's wellness. Yes, we should all try to make a difference in the world, but you owe it to yourself to practice self-care and compassion.
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