One of the most famous yet underappreciated principle of all time is the golden rule.
In case you forgot, the golden rule states that if you want others to do good to you then you must first do good to others. It is also a precept in the Gospel of Matthew (7:12).
But what if you’re the one who needs help? Will you continue helping others instead of yourself?
The simple answer to that is to be others-focused and kind but also balance it with taking care of yourself. I paraphrase Dodinsky as he said to never leave yourself behind while being there for others.
Truly, doing good and giving value to others make us feel happier and fulfilled. Studies show that empathy and compassion can even prevent burnouts too. Who wouldn’t want that?
If you come to realize that there is an imbalance with you doing good to others and taking care of yourself, I hope this article serves as a guide on how you can balance the two.
Self-care is a neutral selfishness.
There is nothing wrong with taking a time out after a tough week, spending an extra 10 minutes in the morning to meditate, exercising every day, or rewarding yourself with some of your small victories.
I learned that there are bad, neutral, and good selfishness. Taking care of yourself is a neutral selfishness. For you are doing the things that will benefit you in the long-run and at the same time not hurting others.
Caring must not equate to “rescuing.”
Imagine a group of friends who has this only one friend whom they really care about. They care about this friend too much because they know that he had been in a rough relationship over 4 years.
This friend has been in an on-off relationship with his girlfriend because of unavoided interpersonal battles. Now his friends were always telling him to just let go of the girl and find someone that will be good for him.
We all have been in that situation, right? We want the best for our friends that’s why we try to rescue them from pain and suffering.
I have been in that place where I give advice to my friend and even manipulate him by saying if he gets back to that toxic relationship, then I wouldn’t be his friend anymore. What I said was childish and unnecessary. I was wrong and now I realized that this person has to want to change.
Sometimes when we desperately want to help a person, out of love as we suppose, this may also let the person feel that he is helpless, and we are to be burnout from this stress as well.
It doesn’t mean we should stop helping people, but there is a great difference between providing support to others who ask for our help and saving somebody by telling them how we think they should live.
How do you define love? Some define it as blind, but I don’t really see the connection.
Although there are tons of definitions of love. My favorite is that One Unconditional Love. You might guess it already and yes, it’s from the book of John (3:16).
This doesn’t mean that we have to die for someone just to feel loved, no, not at all.
Loving someone too deeply is kind of scary. Thinking about your loved one 24/7 is not something to be proud of, I think. Your lover would want you to be functional rather than worry about him/her because you are special yourself too.
Needing somebody is not and should not be the only reason to love.
I did confuse love as something I should benefit from. I thought I should always depend on someone because that’s what love is all about, right?
If you answered yes, then we both can agree that we can’t always be right.
We must first take care of ourselves, learn how to be more independent so that we don’t have to need to attract attention or affection. Because now we know how to truly connect with others.
We influence people through our own actions.
Do you ever wonder why you always meet someone who you think would just take your presence for granted? Again.
We don’t realize this but we kind of influence other people on how they should treat us. By showing signs that you are always ready to sacrifice yourself to help others, you attract people who need some rescuing. They love this because they benefit from what you have to offer.
But we need to ask questions about why these instances keep on happening to us. Do they really take everything from us or we voluntarily give it all to them? What they do is something we can’t change. Although we have something we can control and that is our actions.
If you meet another person who you think takes you for granted, remember to ask these questions and think about what you can do about it.
Learn to stop asking others to take care of you.
Sometimes we do good things to others and yet feel sad if we don’t receive a good thing in return.
Imagine a boy who complains to her girlfriend about not posting pictures of them while he’s out there sharing every bit of her girl to everyone he knows.
He’s feeling unfair because he’s the one that is “more open” in their relationship.
What if his girlfriend wasn’t just the type to share everything on social media?
I wasn’t the type. But when my (ex) boyfriend removed my picture on his featured photos on Facebook, at first I thought why was he being a ****. (Relax, I’m a changed woman…)
It feels like I expected him to take care (of my picture, at least) of me back when we were together. It’s a pill that is hard to swallow because we have chosen to give all our love to them and keep none to ourselves. We expect them to fill the gaps they couldn’t fill never realizing the fact that our self-esteem is what’s missing.
Of course, somebody would want to take advantage of your good nature, but if you accept this to be your reality, then don’t be surprised if people treat you like a rug. Take responsibility for your self-care because nobody will be responsible for it but you.
Realize that you are worthy.
Opposites attract in Chemistry. But in real life, what you think you are will also attract like-minded people. It all boils down on how we think of ourselves.
If we believe that others are more worthy than us then it will affect how we also feel of ourselves. Yes, don’t forget the whole point of this. You’ve guessed it right, it’s self-love.
We must first love ourselves to love others as we love ourselves.
How I see self-care
Self-care may look different for a lot of people. Although from all the self-help books that I’ve read, they all have the same belief. That self-care is, indeed, essential. It’s how we can learn how to love ourselves, give value to others, and be happy by doing what we love.
I’ve listed my personal list of self-care practices below. Feel free to try some of it if not all and I hope you find it useful for your own self-care journey.
- Being in the here and now.
- Having self-compassion rather than being hard on myself.
- Meditating at least 15 min. a day.
- Realizing my emotions and being able to control how I act.
- Changing my thoughts before even indulging in negative self-talk.
- Prioritizing tasks and actively procrastinating by ticking off to-do lists.
- Doing at least one important task every day.
- Listing at least 3 good things that happened during the day.
- Finding something to be grateful for.
- Greeting my family a good morning.
- Having a good laugh with my family.
- Hugging my parents while I still can.
- Writing my thoughts and feelings every day.
- Singing and dancing randomly in a day.
- Learning valuable skills.
- Finish reading a book every week.
- Sharing great stuff with my friends.
- Letting go of one negative thing every day.
- Making someone/myself laugh.
- Cleaning my room every day.
- Decluttering every month.
- Limiting social media consumption in a day.
- Consistently reflecting on my life.
- Exercising every day.
- Not worrying about what other people think of me.
- Sleeping at least 7 hours a day.
- Listening to podcasts.
- Eating healthy food and drinking lots of water.
- Praying every time in a day.
- Devotion every morning.
- Believing in myself with His help.
What does self-care look for you?
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See you, friends!