In our experience of life and working with clients in our clinics, it is clear that many of us hold the common belief (particularly for women), that putting ourselves first is a selfish act, yet this is in reality the total opposite to the truth.
How many times do we hear of a mother putting her kids ahead of her own (sometimes very basic) needs. Many may say, “well that is what mothers do, don’t they?”
She may be a working mum, then gets home from work, cooks dinner, helps the kids with their bath or homework, maybe even stays up baking cupcakes until mid night all in an effort to be the best mum possible, the super mum or super women. She is often left feeling exhausted and is running on empty. Because of this she may then become irritable, easily snap and commonly thinks she has no other way than to push herself to get through the day.
Or the man who works himself to the ground in his job in order to be able to provide for the family and who is also left feeling exhausted with little to give and enjoy when he gets home.
These are just a couple of examples, but there are plenty more cases where it is common that we put others’ needs before our own, all with a good intent, but often leaving us feeling exhausted, frustrated and perhaps even resentful. Why do we loose the joy in the process if our intent was indeed to help others in the first place? Something does not make sense.
We end up feeling run down and running on empty if in the first place, we haven’t taken good care of ourselves. Taking care is about saying yes to making self-loving choices and living in a way that supports our own health and wellbeing FIRST, no matter what. It is about realising that this is actually how we can truly care for others.
If we do things for others at the expense of ourselves then we will end up with some form of tension, maybe end up feeling depleted and ultimately we are left trying to support others from a place where we barely have any fuel in our tank.
If, on the other hand, we do put ourselves first, that is, give ourselves the time and space to be present and gentle in our every movement, eat well, get quality sleep, exercise and attend to the myriad of other activities and expressions that help us stay connected and feeling good within our being, then we have the energy to give back to others, we can be there for them.
If we attempt to give to others when our tank is already half empty, we have less to offer to another and it may leave us running on empty to the detriment of our own health and wellbeing. We can then easily end up getting sick, irritated and flying off the handle at our kids or partner. If this is the case then what good are we really to others?
At Yoga & Healing, we champion looking after ourselves first and foremost as the best gift we can give not only to ourselves but to everyone else we come into contact with. When our tank is full, we feel abundant, we are settled in our body, focussed and stable in our mind and emotions. When we feel this way, we naturally are there to give and support others, after all this is our innate way of being. Therefore, how can self-nurturing be selfish when in fact it is a self-less act? Again, when we running with a full tank, we have the fuel for others.
Could we then say that being self-nurturing is not selfish, but an act that benefits all, ultimately a responsibility we have towards ourselves and all.
Donna Nolan and Alexandra Plane offer Esoteric therapies, Massage therapies, Yoga/Yoga Therapy and Meditation at their clinics in Balmain, Cammeray and Balgowlah. Contact them for enquiries or bookings.