Monday, March 22, 2010

Caring for Others

I find myself in a time where I have a lot of time on my hands and I am takng care of others. Then I am told that I need to take care of myself first. While I understand the concept, I get a little overwhelmed.

I really have been struggling financially the last few months, just like many other Americans. I used to do things for myself, like get a massage, get my nails and feet done. Go to a professional hairdresser regularly. Little things that made me feel good about myself. I would indulge in some new pretties, or clothes or a handbag.

Right now, those are not options and I am wondering what to do for myself that will help me.

I have a friend who has been very ill and I am one of the people who stepped up to help her, and I did so gladly. What I found has been multi-faceted. I have found I am better at setting boundaries with people that are kind and still protect my time and space. I have always been a nurturer, and once (or twice) went to be a nurse. I realized this week why I never finished. The first reason is a horrible gag reflex! The other, and more important, is that I can get lost in the person who needs help and have a hard time stepping back. I am sure it is a learned response, but I like who I am and how I work with people. I feel I would have lost it if I had pursued that career.

I also found that many of the walls I have built up over the years are crumbling. I cry a lot to let go of some of the tension. I spend time with people I like and love and I call the people I love and tell them.

Probably the biggest change is all the people who stepped up to ask me if I needed help. I am really not used to that. I am the one who takes care of everything. While I was not able to ask for a meal to be delivered, or a shoulder to cry on, the fact that it was there for me was really wonderful.

I am learning and maybe next time I will be able to say yes - I do need help, and thank you for asking.