The busy chaos of summer is starting to wind down here as the kids get ready to head back to school. It has been busy and long. Even though I am excited about them heading off to school I will miss them and having them at home. I have been finishing up the school shoping and getting things ready for their first day.
As I have been busy doing these things for my family I have been putting aside my wants and needs either because of time or money. Instead of doing something for myself I talk myself out of it because I have to think of the family. Even though it is true that we must sometimes put aside our own needs for the needs of others it is unhealthy and unbalanced when we do it all the time. It is good that we help and serve others giving of ourselves and our resources, especially when it is our family or people that we care for. But when we completely neglect ourselves over and over in favor of giving we drain ourselves.
I like to think of a family as this great machine that has all these cool features and moving parts that can do amazing things when it is used correctly. But like any other machine it has batteries and when you completely drain the batteries it stops working. It doesn't matter how great the machine is or what amazing things it can do, if it doesn't work it isn't any good to anyone.
We are each of us in some kind of family and have our own sphere of influence in life. It doesn't matter what talents and skills you have or the amazing things you can do, you are not going to be any good to anyone if your batteries are drained. When we neglect ourselves too often for too long we can become resentful and feel unappreciated. I think these feelings that we often direct outwardly towards others has more to do with us than them.
In the scriptures Jesus commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves. How can you give to the people in your life if you are not giving to yourself? When you are not giving to yourself it is reflected in what you give to others. When we help and serve others when our batteries are empty we tend to give some negative stuff as well. We may end up giving frustration, resentment, and many other negative feelings to those we are giving to and can risk losing the joy that comes with giving.
It's not that others shouldn't help and serve us or say thank you. But ultimately, aside from special needs, when we are not taking care of ourselves we are the ones not getting the job done. It is up to us to recharge our batteries by setting aside time for ourselves. Now time for ourselves does not have to mean a week in Hawaii, which would be totally awesome. It could be anything from setting aside 10 minutes in a day for a nap or journaling. It can be a few hours every couple of days to read a good book or exercise. It may even be one day a week to disappear and go hiking in the mountain or go see your favorite team beat their rivals. It can be anything you want it to be. You are the one who decides because it's about making time for you.
In doing this you are not being selfish or greedy. You are simply loving yourself so that you can in turn love your neighbor; the people in your life that you love and have influence over. Giving to others does not mean neglecting or completely ignoring your own needs. Giving is about helping and serving others but that also includes helping and serving yourself.
So take some much needed time to recharge so that you can be the person who does something amazing for another without the baggage of negativity.