Taking care of us
"You have two hands, one for helping yourself, one for helping others."
Taking care of our own needs and helping others meet their needs requires a healthy balance of our awareness. This way we don't get caught up in our own lives or neglect ourselves altogether in favor of focusing solely on helping others. Between families, friendships and our favorite causes, there is never a shortage of people who we are obligated or feel the need to assist in helping improve whatever areas of their life need it. However, it's also important for us to take care of our own needs so we are in a better position to help others.
I still struggle with finding the right balance of working on improving my own quality of life while helping others do the same for theirs. I have noticed how my focus on my own needs comes and goes in waves. I get into a good self-care routine where I am focusing on improving all areas of my life, including my mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health. Inevitably, one area might slip and my routine will start suffering in other areas. Instead of correcting the issue, I fall into self-defeat mode.
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To distract myself, I will walk away from my self-care mess and look to help others address their self-care needs. My welcome distraction ends up making me feel better since the research tells us how much helping others gives us a boost. However, I end up walking back to an even bigger self-care mess, deflating my helping high, while feeling unmotivated to help myself. I have been developing a system to be more consistent with my self-care routine, which is the only way the results stick. I also understand that I can be a better help to others when I am consistently helping myself in the process.
I also realized that helping myself means asking others for help. I do not need to do it all by myself and I do not believe we were designed to live like that. This is what makes the act of helping ourselves and others so noble. If we are not helping ourselves and others to live and enjoy our lives to the fullest, what is it all for? It seems to work well when we are able to find a healthy balance that helps us all to live a better quality of life.
Very Well Mind: The Healthiest Approaches to Self-Improvement