Fill my own bucket first.
Sometimes I feel worried and anxious about doing something for myself or turning down an opportunity to help someone. I feel selfish when I take care of myself. On an airplane they tell you if the oxygen masks drop, put yours on before helping others. I can see why this is important and I realize that I need to fill my own bucket to have the resources to help others.
I don’t like feeling tired, worn out and negative. I realized one day that I was not doing very well at taking care of myself. I was reading my scriptures and praying every day, but I was putting all my time and energy into helping others and had become exhausted. I can keep my bucket full by just a little shift of attitude and being careful to give some time to myself.
When I want to volunteer or someone asks me to do something, I can tell them I’ll call them right back, or I need some time to look at my calendar. I can stop and think for minute. What am I doing this week and what have I already done? How am I feeling? Have I remembered to go to the temple? Have I taken time to do something creative this week that makes me feel happy and fulfilled? Have I taken care of my responsibilities? It’s OK to say “No, I cannot do that this time”. It’s OK to put something on my calendar for next week and not try to fit it in now.
I feel contentment, happiness and peace when my own bucket is full. I have energy and enthusiasm for helping others when I take care of myself first.
Being good to myself.
I have learned that it is wise to “be good to yourself”. But sometimes it is surprisingly hard!
I am used to taking care of others and sometimes others expect me to take care of them. But when I take care of others they sometimes think that they need others to take care of them. Sometimes I think that to be useful or needed or good, I need to take care of others. Neither of these are healthy ways of thinking or living. It is OK to negotiate and divide up the chores, but it is not OK to expect others to take care of me or to think that I need to take care of others. This is not being good to myself.
Sometimes I relish my suffering and balloon things out of proportion. Maybe this is an addiction to drama or excitement. I am not taking care of myself.
When I nurse my grievances I resent my lot in life. With a victim mentality, I can blame everything that happens in my life on others. I am not being good to myself.
Learning to take care of myself and to be good to myself is exciting. Shrugging off “hurts” is freeing. Letting go of a problem brings peace. Being good to myself fills my bucket.
Taking care of myself is not selfish!
The first part of serving others is to listen to myself and my needs. I cannot give anyone something that I do not have. Am I taking care of myself today?
I used to think that taking care of me was selfish. I gave and gave, and tried to be and do what others wanted until I was exhausted. My life really was insanity because I was so tired. I could not think straight and I was always worrying, anxious and fearful. When I finally listened to a friend and attended a 12 step support group, I heard that the 1st step is to recognize that my life is unmanageable.
I learned that I am not being selfish when I go to support meetings, exercise, ask for help, eat right, get enough sleep, take time to read my scriptures and pray, rest, examine my behavior and take action to correct it, and share myself with others. When I pay attention to what I need I am not being selfish. As I take care of myself, I gain strength, power and wisdom to know when and how to serve and help others.