The women in my family love big. We love each other, our friends and those we don’t even know. It’s just who we are. Our lineage is full of counselors, social workers, spiritual counselors, nonprofit workers, teachers, caregivers and mothers. It is a beautiful line of love in action here on earth. These women, with worn hands reach out and care for others, constantly. It is in our blood. If there is a need or a prayer or an opportunity to be a blessing, we are the first to step in to help. And we bring our children. I think is an honor to come from such a caring and giving family.
Families all express different values, some are driven for success, some express artistically and others spend most of their time outdoors. Our family has some of those too, but they come as a second priority to helping.
As we have discovered our familial similarities, we have also discovered the pluses and misses of this family tradition. The pluses are numerous. We feel joy from reaching out to others, sharing helpful information, honoring someone’s life situation. If feeds our souls. And makes us feel useful at the same time.
As with anything, there is another side of the coin. In our case, care-giving of others does have it’s challenges. Because we have grown up in this family culture, it is so much a part of us that we have to peel back the layers to discover what’s underneath. In some recent “peeling” conversations, we have discovered that our family of helpers and healers, while a gift, also leads us to put others first and ourselves last. While that is in general a good thing, it as the potential to get out of hand we are unaware.
Self care is a hot topic for conversation around here. It’s like we are discovering it for the first time, even though we have had the conversation many times. Our grandmothers didn’t sit down and read a book. There was always something to do or someone to share a blessing with. And what a lovely way to share love. And our generation is saying “yes” to that AND to self care AND to teaching that to our children. And so, I sit down to read from time to time, I paint, I write and I explore and develop caring for me. It feels weird still sometimes, but I do it anyways. We all have permission to put ourselves on the calendar. To schedule time to honor ourselves. And to teach that self caring tradition to our children. And the great thing is, when we shine some light on ourselves, it refuels us to be able to give love.
So, take a bath, read a book, put down the to do list, and just be. You deserve it, just because you are you. How will you honor yourself today?