Sunday, October 5, 2008

Self-care challenge

I used to only think about what I needed to do to take care of others around me. Not because I was born a saint. Not because I was a super strong Christian.

If you've been abused you can probably guess why I invested so much into taking care of others. I did it because I was trained from early childhood as a caretaker. It was my job to take care of others. And other's needs were always more important than my own.

On the bright side: I am kind and caring, willing to help others no matter what it takes.

On the dark side: I spent most of my life oblivious to my own needs and ignorant on how to meet my own needs.

Part of my recovery journey is learning to notice my own needs and then learn to care for myself. At first, the only way to do this was to look at myself as if I were my neighbor. Only by detaching and taking an objective look could I identify my own needs, because otherwise I was clueless (it felt as if I just didn't have any needs of my own). At this point, I can be more direct. Now I can ask myself "What do I need right now?" and often an answer will rise to the surface. I am also practicing asking "What would be best for me in this situation?" I am learning and it is increasing my self-care and increasing my joy. I worried in the beginning that such work might make me selfish, but I am not finding that to be true. I still care about others. The change is that I now care about my own health and well-being too.

How about you? Do you care about your own needs yet? If not, why not take on this challenge: Start asking yourself what you need or what would be best for you. Try it and see if it leads to good changes in how you do things.

No comments:

Recommended Books

  • 10 Lifesaving Principles for Women in Difficult Marriages by Karla Downing
  • A Way of Hope by Leslie J. Barner
  • Angry Men and the Women Who Love Them by Paul Hegstrom
  • Battered But Not Broken by Patricia Riddle Gaddis
  • Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Bradshaw on the Family by John Bradshaw
  • Caring Enough to Forgive/Not Forgive by David Augsburger
  • Codependent No More by Melody Beattie
  • Healing the Wounded Heart by Dr. Dan B. Allendar
  • Keeping the Faith: Questions and Answers for the Abused Woman by Marie M. Fortune
  • Perfect Daughters by Robert J. Ackerman, Ph.D.
  • Recovery: A Guide for Adult Children of Alcoholics by Herbert L. Gravitz and Julie D. Bowden
  • Safe People by Dr Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend
  • Slay Your Own Dragons by Nancy Good
  • The Cinderella Syndrome by Lee Ezell
  • The Dance of Anger by Harriet Goldhor Lerner, Ph.D.
  • The Search for Significance by Robert S. McGee
  • Turning Fear to Hope by Holly Wagner Green
  • When Violence Comes Home: Help for Victims of Spouse Abuse by Tim Jackson and Jeff Olson
  • Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft