If you are a caretaker, either by profession or by nature, (perhaps a mother) please consider the message of
“No-one ever received anything but praise for being caring. The very concept of “over-caring” has seldom been twinned as an aspect of self-neglect. And the step linking care-giving to personal ill health is a bridge considered to dangerous to approach, let alone cross.”
If there is one thing that is common to people of a caretaking nature, it is their tendency to give care, and give care, and give care without stopping for a moment to, take a breath, and to receive a little care. Sadly, the step between giving and receiving is also often neglected. That step is the most important.
It is Self Care.
Dr Barbara Brennan, Author of best selling “Hands of Light” has channeled spiritually intuited messages on the nature of self care and I, as a healer and caregiver with the above tendency of over-caring, have been struck by the following message:
“To the degree
You do not take care of yourself
To that very degree
You will take care of others
And support their images
Of their inability to take care of themselves.”
(Dr. Barbara Brennan :“Seeds of the Spirit 1999”)
The thing that makes this truth so challenging is that there is little or no reflection on this aspect of life in the mainstream educational system or in our environments around us. There is no-one teaching the concept of self-care and few are truly practicing it. Compounded with this is the fact that no-one ever received anything but praise for being caring. The very concept of “over-caring” has seldom been twinned as an aspect of self-neglect. And the step linking care-giving to personal ill health is a bridge considered to dangerous to approach, let alone cross.
Lets consider what has happened to those who have stretched themselves in this path of pursuit. Perhaps you recognize the link in symptoms that are more traditionally associated with other causes – symptoms that appear in yourself such as constant fatigue or the opposite – hyperactivity followed by collapsing into bed at night, dreading waking up in the morning.
And what about the signs you see in your relationships? the child that may irritate you in his/her demand for space. The partner who says you bug, nag or pester him or her. What I ask next is a difficult question to consider openly and honestly – yet I encourage that you do.
Is it possible that they are the victim of your over-caring?
- Why do we focus on caring for others above caring for self?
- Is it because caring for self can be misinterpreted as being selfish – and there is unanimity that being selfish is BAD?
- Is it that the generation before us suffered and we acted on their unspoken desire to see the world a different way?
- Is it because we found a sense of purpose in our care for others, and in the sense of fulfillment and gratification, we never considered to look further?
It is certain that no-one ever directly taught us how or why we might, honor ourselves, observe healthy boundaries or respect our own bodies – and as a result of this lack of teaching, we have very limited experience of what life might look like if we actually did these things.
We simply don’t know the rewards they offer.
So if we are not teaching care-giving, what are we teaching? The answer is “All that we DO.” Our actions our lives, our interactions, spoken or unspoken, we teach them all.
Children make the easiest reflection of the unspoken aspects of life that we are teaching. They are astute, perceptive and intuitive. They pick up on the strain and fatigue of an over-zealous caregiver in a variety of ways. They sense the negative impact that hides within those who care at the expense of self. They know the aspects of their caregivers suffering. And this knowing at a deep sub-conscious level, impacts and guides their own personal actions and behavior on how they live their lives. How could it not?
The greatest lesson that we bring to our children comes, not through school or even through words. It comes through our way of being. The way we live and interrelate to the world around us. As influencers, that tasks us with responsibility. More specifically it tasks us with a responsibility to self. A responsibility to live a life that can become, without words, an example that positively teaches.
So, here-in lies an invitation to you to pursue your own authenticity, your own needs, your own desires and own longings, and through doing so, teach and empower and inspire those you interact with to do the same.
Andrew Newman is the founder of The Conscious Bedtime Story Club and believes that the last 20 minutes of the day are precious.
He is a graduate of the Barbara Brennan School of Healing, a qualified Non-Dual Kabbalistic Healer and has co-led men’s’ circles for 10 years through the Mankind Project.
Alongside his therapy practice, Andrew has inspired 2500 spontaneous poems as the PoemCatcher, worked as volunteer coordinator for Habitat for Humanity in the townships of South Africa and directed Edinburgh’s Festival of Spirituality and Peace.