Updated: Jan 4
Many, many people struggle with vulnerability and asking for help. You are not alone in this. Our culture indoctrinated us with the belief that we must be effortlessly perfect and do it all by ourselves. Oh- and also never complain. And never stop putting other people first. And absolutely feel guilty if you ever think about yourself. However, I honestly believe that vulnerability-sharing our ACTUAL feelings about who we are and what we want- is our only salvation. It is the key to unlocking our greatest potential for joy and meaning. We have to be able to put ourselves first (even if religion and our parents and our professors and colleagues and society have brainwashed us otherwise). Only then can we live from a place of freedom to give, create and love. Any desire for more spirituality and meaning at this time in your life is a clarion call, an invitation to a more joyful life with less resentment and more fulfillment. That is not a bunch of psychobabble. It is the truth. No one else is ever going to take better care of you than you. Ever. And if you don't do it, who will?
Remember: Burnout is what happens when we do TOO MUCH of anything with TOO LITTLE reward. It is no mystery why you struggle with burnout. There is nothing inherently wrong with you.
I came across this story the other day from Mandy Flanders, CHNP:
My mentor asked me: " What would you be doing with your time if you stopped caring for everyone else and put yourself first?" When she asked me this question, I couldn't see all the ways in which I was abandoning myself to make others around me "happy." I couldn't see how my decisions (and lack thereof) around dinner, what movie to watch, when to go out and when to stay, when to shower, revolved around those around me. I was unaware of how I was continually losing myself in my unconscious choices to please others. I was depleted. I was codependent. I was lost. When I gave myself the opportunity to sit quietly with myself and ask: "What do I want to be doing right now?" I was astounded at how lost I truly was. I didn't know. I asked myself, "What do I like to do?" And again, I didn't know. When no one else was around me, I didn't know what I wanted to be doing. I was conditioned to make others around me happy, feel better and feel good. I lost myself in the process. Who was I without the hats I wore?This healing journey isn't about becoming. It's about reconnecting. It's about getting to know oneself and remembering the lost parts of us that fragmented and disconnected somewhere along the way. "
Be kind to yourself. Pay attention to that voice in your head- what is it saying to you? Is it your voice or someone else's, telling you how you SHOULD be and SHOULD feel? Is it kind? Is it critical? The purpose of any Belleruth Naparstek audio affirmation (see iTunes, Apple Music- Google Belleruth, she is a BADASS transformer of health) is to begin to soften that inner critic and care for yourself, to rewire your hard-drive and inner programming, and help you see your innate goodness.
When we can prioritize our own feelings and needs and begin to know what we really want, life gets so much easier. But we don't know how to do that. When was the last time you asked yourself, What do I want? This is not selfish- or self-righteous- it is self-integrity. When you can be clear on what matters to you and what you want, then you can learn how to ask for it, and how to get more of it. With this insight and tools, you free up all sorts of energy to love and give and be that person you want to be to others in your life that you value and love. No more guilt. Much much less burnout.
Regarding the other people in your life: all of them are also creative, resourceful and whole. It is not your job to take care of them or their emotions. That is their job. When they tap into their own truth, wants and feelings, they will be responsible for learning to advocate for themselves.
All of this may sound RADICAL and impossible. But it's not. It's all good and real and possible.
What would you be doing with your time if you stopped caring first for everyone else and put yourself first?