Self-care: Revisited

The other day something happened that brought me back to the importance of self-care. One minute I was going along swimmingly and then I tripped. (Not literally, although I’ve done that before.)

This is a topic I’ve written about previously and probably will again, because I am learning about self-care over and over.

The idea of taking care of one’s self, at first glance, seems selfish. Visions of decadence and narcissism come to mind. But that’s the extreme.

Taking care of my SELF, the only self I have, enables me to be compassionate, engaged and giving toward others. Self-care is not only healthy but necessary.

I don’t know how it is with you but I am much more comfortable reaching out to people other than myself. It makes me seem less needy. The founder of my undergraduate school set the motto: “Not to be ministered unto, but to minister.”

I agree, in that I’m not the center of the universe, but if I minister to people to death, what good am I?

If I include myself in the human race, I too have flaws and struggles and needs. If I don’t know how to minister to myself, how can I help anyone else?

“Physician, heal thyself” has universal connotations.

In a “caring” profession, I can get out of whack pretty quick when I don’t see myself in my patients and their families. When I stand outside of them as someone other than human, I forget that I, too, know hurt and heartache. And that I am needy too.

So when I have my heart broken by others’ pain, I remind myself to tend to my own brokenness. I remind myself that I don’t have all the answers. I remind myself that I have limitations, and only so much energy. Others will be around where I leave off. I believe in challenging my limitations, for sure; but when I run into trouble, I need the wisdom to say, Wait. Stop. Let go. Rest.