Self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give the care it requires, we do it not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.
– Parker J. Palmer
Leaving Yourself Empty
Many of us spend much of our lives pouring ourselves out for others. As a daughter, a son, a mother, a husband, a wife, a friend—you’ve given significant amounts of your time and energy to love, serve, care for, and bless the people around you. You’ve lived as if your love could heal them and your vision for them would empower and sustain them.
What you’ve found instead is an empty, aching, confused abyss inside yourself, possibly verging on an angry explosion. What you’ve been pouring out hasn’t been replenished, and now you’re trying to maintain out of nothing, which compounds your feelings of being unheard, dismissed, ignored, or mistreated.
Refill Your Soul with Self-Care
While it is true that being treated better would go a long way toward refilling your aching soul, there are ways to care for yourself that will also help. In fact, fiercely protecting moments for your own health will significantly impact the people around you in greater ways than simply trying to love them the way you have.
You can’t “be yourself” without taking care of that self. Think about what it’s been like to be in a destructive or toxic relationship. What has that done to your soul? Now look at your own inner environment—you in your own head. Have you been toxic to yourself? Have you squashed your own soul, silenced your own voice, or belittled your own giftedness simply because you haven’t taken care of the “you” you’ve been given?
Some simple self-care tools to add to your day:
- Be consistent. Follow through on your word.
- Say what you mean, mean what you say, and live congruently.
- Have integrity: your character is what it is whether you are in public or private.
- Be real, authentic, genuine.
- Stay true to your character, the person God is calling you to be.
- Feel deeply.
- Hold space for yourself.
- This is your life—live it.
If you long for your life to make a difference in the world around you, the strength of your difference will depend upon the health of your soul. When you feel good about you, when you’ve slept well, eaten something healthy, fed your soul and grounded your spirit, THEN you are much better able to love the people around you well.
Need Some Help Creating a Self-Care Plan?
If you feel like you’re running on empty and need to learn some self-care tools, we’d love to help you! Contact the Marriage Recovery Center here for more information.