A New Way to Give: Include the Self.
“In the event that the oxygen mask is needed, be sure to put your own mask on first before you assist a child.”
Most airline travelers hear a variation of this announcement prior to the plane’s departure. Yet how many people truly practice this in their daily life? This life saving gift also acts a metaphor, one that totally goes over the head of the over giver.
A common response echoes in the thoughts and voice of the over giver, “I don’t have time.” I joke that time is a four-letter word. Seriously, I fell under that spell in the corporate world. I was a newly single mom, workaholic at ABC News where I assumed the role of “Super Mom, Super Woman.” Sick days were a “no-no” for me as a mom or editor. It was on my shoulders to do it all, or so I thought. And I assumed the role with all its debilitating glory.
After suffering for one month with walking pneumonia, I knew I needed something more, especially to be here for my daughter. Even this realization bypassed my desire to be here for me.
I longed for balance and I believed it to be outside of myself, somewhere out there, where others already had it. It takes moxie, guidance and practice to quiet the formula, “sacrifice the self in order to give onto others.” I knew compassion needed to be included somehow in the formula, but how? When I learned meditation, I gained a skill that brought me back to me. It was “the me” that I had left out of the equation.
To look at self-care requests, the mind espouses many tainted, ill-charged words: Diva, Spoiled and Selfish. My Reiki and meditation journey now gives new definition and feeling to those words: Love Self.
This feels richer, more sustainable than self love. A slight shift of perception goes a long way. Like the oxygen mask rule, Love Self allows the giver to give more, free from depletion. This is not selfish. This is self-full.
In my dissolution with the over giver lifestyle, I’ve found the perfect formula for reconnection and wholeness. I now share this with my clients: “Be sure to include yourself in the formula. This means one for them and one for you.” This formula dissolves the martyr and rebuilds an empowered way to give.