This is a terribly hard concept for caregivers of any kind; it goes against that internal belief that others must always come first.
I fall into this trap pretty often, even when I see it directly in front of me I often choose to step right in and then wonder why I start to crash and burn.
Caregivers are often placed on a pedestal because they appear to be selfless. For me, this is not the case. I receive so much in the way of joy by helping others that often it seems selfish.
We, as individuals and as family and friends of those that live with addiction know this all together too well.
We desire so greatly to serve others and yet often we are serving from an empty tank. Again, for me, I never resent those I care for; I resent myself for not having enough in the tank and by the time I realize the tank is empty it is often too late. I start that inner dialogue that says what was I thinking, I can't even take care of myself.
If you are still reading chances are you are saying 'yup... same'!
Last night I went to bed sobbing, slept for a few hours, woke up super early and have been FILLING my tank as full as possible ever since. I lit candles, yes at 3am :) I burned incense, I listened to the same meditation over and over and over........until it finally sunk in and I am full.
Now I am 100% ready to face another day with joy knowing that I am not serving on empty. I shared my ways of refueling, what are yours? They can be as simple as binge watching a show you love, 'scream' singing in the car, going for a walk or sitting in silence. Your spirit can be refilled in so very many ways.
When you see the trap in front of you, stop, take a moment to decide if you have enough fuel to get over it, and make a conscious decision as to how you should move forward toward the greater good for you and those you serve.
At a Sunday School conference many years ago I learned (and of course forgot) a simple idea
that defines how we can approach service in this case as Christ did. The self centered individual places the most importance on themselves most of the time. The others centered individual places the most importance on others most of the time. The Christ centered individual equally distributes the value of each. Those of us who are Christians know that Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us, however, while on earth there are many references to Him stepping away, in body to refresh, to commune with God, to ask and to listen, so that He could return with a renewed sense of service. The disciples feared being 'on their own' however they never really were. His presence remained in the love and support He gave them to hold them over until His return.
Today my prayer for you (and for me) is that we serve those we love, including ourselves, so that our service becomes a witness to all the world that we are truly one community with the intention of living in harmony with each other.
May the peace, love and light of the world shine brightly on you and refill your spirit to overflowing!
God's blessings today and always, k