Getting stuck in a pattern of giving or being busy without replenishing yourself, is depleting.
And it leads to ill health, physically and mentally.
I believe that to be able to give, usefully give, each of us needs to take care of ourselves first.
Care of yourself.
Generally when I talk to clients about this, they know the idea, they sort of get the concept, that is often why they've come for massage in the first place.
However, they wonder "Isn't looking after yourself, selfish?"
My answer - No, looking after yourself is Self Care.
Selfish vs Self Care:
The cambridge dictionary definition of selfish is: "Someone who is selfish only thinks of their own advantage"
Self care - this is where you take responsibility for your own well-being. By taking responsibility for your well being you avoid dumping it on others un-necessarily.
Self care is something that we are told about on every single plane journey before the plane sets off. Flight attendents tell us to "put the oxygen mask on yourself before you try to help someone else". The reason for this is that if you try and help someone else without attending to yourself first you can put your own life at risk and potentially other people as they then try to help you. This is NOT helpful to anyone else on the plane. You can only help others if you yourself can breathe.
It is the same with other areas of your life.
Going back to the original quote:
"You can't pour from an empty cup".
To give you must have something to give. If not you deplete. As you deplete, the giving you give comes bundled up with anger, resentment, aches, pains, tiredness, tears etc. This is your bodies way of asking. Your body is asking you to listen to it. It has needs too. Desperate needs that it is shouting for, crying for, in pain for, aching for.
Self care isn't selfish. It is the balance of things. A natural, self-aware, adult response.
When you take care of yourself, truly, in a way that is true for you, you give easily, freely and generously, when appropriate, because you are overflowing. Your cup is full to the brim and your giving comes from abundance and joy instead of guilt, duty and imbalance.
Self care is something that needs your awareness of yourself.
You need to give yourself the chance to listen to yourself and what you need.
A really quick way of doing this is to think about what you consistently say when you feel you are under pressure.
Do you say "Leave me alone" "What about me?" "Yes, well I'm tired too" etc. Take a few moments and let yourself hear your reactions.
These can be the first inspiring moments of realization of what you need for yourself.
When I work with clients, I listen. I listen to what they are saying, what they are asking for, and then the treatments are about each individual client.
I encourage clients to start to notice themselves and what they need.
Each sessions is about learning to become aware, connect, nurture, empower and receive.
This final one can be so difficult for givers.
Learning to receive.
To soak up the treatments just for them.
But over time, with consistencey and gentleness, givers can learn to receive with ease too.
Having a massage isn't selfish. It is self care.
Having half an hour to yourself isn't selfsish. It is self care.
Having space for rest, joy and connection isn't selfish. It is self care.
Take a few minutes today, and be kind, give to yourself.
Take care of yourself.
It will benefit everyone you connect with.
Best wishes, Victoria.