Self Care

When you can’t help others, help yourself.

Compassion for self is as important as compassion for others. As Humanists we seek to live lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity. We know our meaning and purpose comes from helping others and working to benefit others.

The problem is that we can’t always help other people. Sometimes we are the ones who need help;  We all get sick. Sometimes very sick. We all have ups and downs emotionally. And sometimes there just isn’t enough fuel in the tank to help and care for others.  In those moments we need to care for themselves.

I am a mom. This means I have a kid who relies on me to provide food, clothing, shelter and emotional stability.  I am lucky that the first 3 of those are covered. Where I struggle is with emotional stability.

Struggle isn’t really the word. Most of the time it’s easy. I’m there for him.  But sometimes, I have my own anxieties and I can’t give him my full attention.  I get antsy and anxious and feel like if I have to listen to him talk about Minecraft for another moment, I’m going to burst.

It is in those moments, that to provide emotional stability for him, I have to be clear about what MY needs are.  When I do this – he knows to modulate his behavior so that I can have the head space I need for a moment. This is better for him and for me because instead of blowing up, I can calmly say – hey – this is what I need right now. He feels good that he can give back to me for a moment and I feel good that I’m teaching him self care and self advocacy through modeling.

Whether you are dealing with professional obligations or personal ones, self care is essential. Knowing what your limits are helps you to make sure that you are emotionally capable of caring for others. Taking short breaks to clear your head isn’t selfish. It’s self care. It’s what makes it so you can help others instead of being wrapped up in your own drama all the time.

So care for yourself. View it as mental maintenance to keep your brain and your body functioning so that you can do the good deeds for others you want to.

I talk about this concept more in my book: The Humanist Approach to Happiness:

And also discuss how to balance compassion for yourself with compassion for others in the course Living Made Simpler:

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