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You need to have a self in order to give yourself

Being burned out is a great technique for making ourselves look and feel important, but in the long run, it really doesn’t help the people we claim to serve.

How can you possibly give yourSELF to the world if that very SELF is being drained and depleted through self-disregard?

Where is the “goodness” in all our good works if our labor lacks the presence and vitality that only a nourished soul can provide?

Martyrdom is overrated. If you really want to make a selfless contribution to humanity, sacrifice your belief that the universe will collapse if you’re not micromanaging every possible dilemma; sacrifice your belief that you are somehow unworthy of the same love, respect, and consideration you extend towards others.

The world doesn’t need anymore overworked, overtaxed, overfatigued, broken-down, burned-out heroes.

The world needs givers who know how to replenish their own wells. The world needs people who are so generous that they never stop investing in their own capacity to have something to offer.

The most selfless thing we can do is to make sure we’re never sharing anything less than a version of ourselves that’s actually worth sharing.

Love your neighbor AS yourself means “Love yourself. Then do the same for others.” It doesn’t mean “Love others, but treat yourself like garbage.”

 

Before you make that sacrifice, please think about the rest of us

Sacrifice is a necessary part of relationships and in most cases our sacrifices are made with the best of intentions, but I won’t deny or downplay the idea that there is such a thing as an unhealthy or dangerous sacrifice.

I’ve seen way too many parents, ministers, social workers, and charity volunteers become the unnecessary victims of high-blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, sleeplessness, extreme anxiety, debilitating stress, chronic resentment and a host of other problems that hindered their ability to serve simply because they neglected the importance of self-care.

Sacrifice, when combined with intelligence and a healthy lifestyle, can be a powerful and productive strategy for achieving positive goals. Unnecessary martyrdom, however, is harmful to everyone involved.

It’s one thing to sacrifice personal desires, money, conveniences, comfort, material possessions, and other things we can live without, but if we’re putting ourselves in the hospital, the therapist’s office, or the grave, in the name of looking out for others, then we should reevaluate our motives and our strategy.

If we truly live to serve others, then we ought to take care of ourselves enough to make sure we can actually stick around to be there for them.

Yes, the world needs us. But it needs us because of what we can do. If we deprive ourselves of that ability because of an unhealthy desire to feel needed or an unbalanced determination to “always be helping,” then we miss the point.

We should do whatever we can to make the world a better place, but we can’t achieve that goal if we’re sacrificing our health and sanity in the process.

Before you make that sacrifice, please think about the rest of us. If you’re really worried about our problems, please don’t make it worse by giving us the additional problem of having to rush you to the emergency room because of your failure to ever sit down, relax, have a meal, and sleep.

We Are Among Them

In our efforts to defend the weak, let us not forget that we are among them. For we too are in need of protection.

In our efforts to affirm the neglected and overlooked, let us not forget that we are among them. For we too are in need of compassion and sympathy.

In our efforts to heal the world and make the planet a better place, let us not forget that we are among Earth’s children. For we too are in need of healing and help.

Whatever good we seek to do for others, let us not forget to do the same manner of good for ourselves.

We are not greater than those we love. We are among them. And we too are in need of love.

 

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