You can’t pour from an empty cup, it is not selfish to take care of yourself first.
Have you ever been on a plane when they tell you to put your mask on before helping others? You can’t help someone get oxygen if you pass out first. The same goes for all areas in our lives. For some of us, it causes us great anxiety to take care of ourselves first because we hold the fear of failing someone else and someone else being negatively impacted by that decision. I fight this battle every single day.
I started this post almost 2 months ago but found myself not doing exactly what I am trying to get others to do, so I never posted it. But, I am finally filling my cup back up and am reminded of the importance of keeping my cup full enough to be able to pour into other people’s cups. It is so easy to get hung up on making other people happy, but what I found is that I was making myself even more unhappy and even more stressed out. I had to step back and a couple therapy sessions later, I am here to remind you how important it is to give ourselves the same grace and energy that we give others. I am always asking “how can I help?” but I am never asking “How can I help myself?”
To start, I was really unhealthy so step 1 was investing into myself and getting healthy. For me, that was starting at a local boot camp gym with a good friend. It does cost $125/month, which was a big pill to swallow at first, but then I broke it down to just not eating out once a week for my family of 4. Or even not getting starbucks but maybe once a week, the investment now seemed tangible. So I pulled the trigger. I signed up for a 6month commitment next to one of my best friends and we are doing this together.
Step 2 of investing in myself was recognizing when I need to take a break and just walk away. This is from work, from a friendship, or even from family. In the past, I have given everything 110%, no matter what. But, the pandemic paired with the worst struggles with depression in my life, brought me to a new reality. That I can’t give 110% to everything all the time but only give 5% to myself. I have to start giving that 110% to myself and then I can start giving what I can to everything else. I was sacrificing my mental health, my physical health, and my happiness for what? For a job that won’t take care of my kids if I’m gone, for a family relationship that will never get better because there was never a positive, for a friendship that was literally draining the life out of me? I took time off work, I left my phone on DND and I asked myself what I needed it. Was it worth it anymore to give my time and energy into things and relationships that weren’t reciprocated? No. I had to cut the things off that were sucking the life out of me and start breathing life back into me.
It has been a long year of mental health improvements and taking baby steps to get where I’m at but I started my physical health journey about 6 weeks ago and I’ve never felt better. I have more energy, don’t crave Starbucks anymore, I have more energy to put into my friendships and spend less time stressed out and more time focusing on what I can change rather than what I can’t. My therapist is always reminding me that you can only control yourself, and it is important to remember that no matter what, you know your truth and what anyone else says doesn’t matter. Some people may think I’m gloating by posting my workouts every day and calories burned, but for me, that is my accountability to keep showing up. The more I fill my own cup up, the more I have to share with others.
BE SELFISH. INVEST IN YOURSELF. DO SOMETHING FOR YOURSELF. You can’t save the world, but you can save yourself and that is just as important!