Many years ago I attended a webinar with Steve and Barbara Rother of Lightworker. During the webinar Barbara shared a personal story that I occasionally reflect upon, and often share with clients who find themselves experiencing fatigue & overwhelm.
I’d like to share it with you today because one theme I am consistently aware of these days is that folks feel overwhelmed, stressed out and frazzled.
The story: Barbara shared that she used to take care of everyone else’s needs first. Her husband, her kids, her family, her friends. Everyone. At the end of the day she was depleted, empty, at zero on the gas tank, with absolutely nothing left for herself. Over time she began feeling resentful, but powerless to change because her habit of taking care of everyone else was so deeply ingrained in her that she didn’t even know it was there (sneaky things, those subconscious blocks and beliefs).
A friend of hers recommended she begin putting herself first. Aghast, she resisted. “What? I can’t do that. I’ll let everyone down. Nobody will approve.” She balked. The roof would cave in. The house would be a mess! Everyone would run amok. Nothing would get done. Life, as she knew it, would get very messy.
So she carried on. Business as usual. Finally, she was so empty and depleted that she had nothing left to give. Not to anyone.
Desperate, she tried her friend’s suggestion, giving ample forewarning to those around her. From here on out, her needs and desires came first. Everyone and everything else came second.
At first, her husband and sons challenged her. The committees railed. Her friends waa-hhhed and wailed. Although she felt guilty, she stood her ground.
What she discovered astounded her: When she gave to others first she was depleted. When she put herself first her energy was full and overflowing, and had plenty left over to give to others.
It didn’t take long for her husband and sons to notice that when she put others first she was cranky. Begrudging. Exhausted. But, when she put herself first she was different – happy, fun to be around, vibrant – and soon they began encouraging her to put her Self first.
Moral of the story: When a cup is empty there is nothing for anyone to drink. When a cup is overflowing there is plenty for everyone to drink.
“Loving yourself…does not mean being self-absorbed or narcissistic, or disregarding others. Rather it means welcoming yourself as the most honored guest in your own heart, a guest worthy of respect, a lovable companion. – Margo Anand
If you find yourself putting everyone and everything before your own needs and desires, are experiencing overwhelm, fatigue, frustration, resentment and STRESS I would be honored to help you identify and dismantle the conscious and subconscious blocks, behaviors and beliefs that keep you in the energy of obligation and resentment. Together, we can shift your experience from overwhelm and exhaustion to vibrant dynamic energy, and genuine contribution of your unique gifts and talents in the world.
To your freedom,
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love & affection.” – Buddha