The last Sunday of August has been declared Sacrifice Our Wants to Other’s Needs Sunday by the organization Be Kind to Humankind.
This is a pretty cool idea, if not a well known holiday. It challenges us to look at the difference between wants and needs, which is something we often forget to do. And as great as helping others is, today I’m writing about the other side of the issue.
I’m looking at all of you empaths and healers out there who don’t take care of yourselves!
Parents work really hard to try to get our kids to recognize that the other kids have wants and needs, just as they do, and they should take those desires and needs into account when deciding what to do- whether to take the bigger piece of cake, or whether to let the other kid go first. Sadly, when the first lessons seem to be taking, we often neglect to fine tune the lesson as we do with other things we are teaching. It’s hard to differentiate between wants and needs, and we too often hope that they’ll figure it out later, but it doesn’t happen.
Too many people (you healers, helpers) forget to put their own needs for sleep, for nutrition, for attention, (yes it is a real need…) into the equation when allocating their time and energy, as if their needs don’t count as much as those of others. WAKE UP! Your needs are just as important as everyone else’s! Remember the pre-flight instructions: if the oxygen masks come down, put your own on before you help your kids. (How much help are you going to be able to give if you’ve passed out, eh? Yes, it’s an analogy.) We’re not asking you to be greedy or selfish, only to recognize that you are worthy of consideration, as much as those you help, and that if you neglect yourself, you’re denying that resource (you) from those you help.
Helping others is great. As a matter of fact, it’s probably the only thing that’s going to save the world at this point. But remember that just as the needs of others are more important than your wants, YOUR needs are more important than their wants. Yes, I know it’s harder to judge emotional and spiritual needs than physical ones; they are so much more amorphous than simple food, water, and air. But you’ve already got the big idea down, you know we’re all in this together. Just remember that you are a part of that big “Us”, and give yourself equal consideration.
This has been a public service announcement from someone who’s watched a whole lot of “Givers” run themselves into the ground unnecessarily. Trust me, the good people you’re helping will be happy that you’re taking care of yourself, even if temporarily inconvenienced.