I’d love to hear more about your job, and even more, how it changes your focus on taking care of yourself. There’s a lot of folks out there with real big hearts, who forget to take care of themselves in all the “other” taking-care-of.
For instance, I have urges to volunteer all the time. However, I find that when I do, I can’t sustain it, like, at all. I still want to help, but that more traditional route just doesn’t seem to work for me. Which then makes me think of a quote that is attributed to Maya Angelou’s mom, in which she says [paraphrase], “If you only have one smile to give away today – don’t waste it on someone you don’t know. Give it to someone you love.”
So, I’m now trying to help more locally. That is, my family and friends – when they need it, and I’ve got it to give, I give.
The above was a comment left on my update post from last week. Such a great comment! Great quote, too! Ohmyglob! So, yes, I later posted about my job a bit in my “What’s Up Buttercup” post yesterday. But they bring up a great point, how does how I care for myself change when I am caring for the happiness of others? I have to say that for the first time it’s actually become easier for me to care for myself in my new role as the director of happiness. Surprisingly, I quickly saw how even very small things and gestures can really lift folks mood and make their life easier.
I say surprisingly because as I realized how tiny things can make a big impact for others I also saw that this applies to me as well. So I celebrate silly things like remembering something I was only shown once or make a big deal out of what others may feel is a small thing someone shared. Life is in the details, they say, and I rarely agree with what “they” say, but this I think is true. Life is what you’re doing in between the big stuff. Life is in the cup of tea that settles your stomach or time spent chatting with a coworker about a shared interest. Sometimes it’s the Reese’s Pieces your coworker ordered for the break room (hell yeah!). Sure, the big stuff matters and counts, but we don’t often forget the big stuff, we typically forget the little things. When I help someone at work accomplish something they previously thought not possible or maybe just not important enough to get to, I instantly feel good! I see on their faces that I have helped them, no matter what words are spoken, and that is the best reward. Cheesy? Yup! So what?!
I have always had what many would call a “bleeding heart”, my empathy knows no bounds and often it is difficult for me to relate to people who aren’t as deeply compassionate as I know I can be (not always, dude, I’m not a machine). It’s exhausting, caring so much, but I manage, with the help of my amazing friends (boyfriend included). It used to be so hard for me to be the only one who cared so much about something, when others could not understand my passions. I think I’ve gotten better at both explaining/communicating as well as mitigating my own feelings. Maturity? Eh, let’s hope not! Ha-ha!
I will say that wanting very badly to help others but not being able to while staying sane/healthy yourself is something I can relate to. I used to volunteer for the SPCA but lasted only a short while because I would be heart broken and sobbing the entire fucking time and that is just not sustainable. I want to help all of the animals, not just three! Same for everything else, really. I’m just an all or nothing sort of gal, but I do my best to do what’s right in the moment for me and the cause at hand. Taking care of yourself first is not selfish, it’s essential! You can do no good for others if you are suffering. Why is this such a tough one to learn? I feel like I have to learn it every year of my life!
I find that it’s both more difficult and easier to maintain adult friendships. Facebook and email helps a lot, but it’s also nice to see the people we love in person sometimes. We’re all “busy” but making even a little time to check in with those we care about does wonders for all involved. Case in point, someone I cared for a great deal and was really there for me in a great time of need invited me to Vox with her on the app Voxer. We love each other, but somehow hadn’t really even managed to stay in touch on fb or anything. Now we Vox each other everyday! I feel something is missing if we haven’t left each other even just a quick message. These things are so precious and truly simple, but we don’t always think of what would make these connections possible or easier for us. Oh how I love technology!
When I get a random message from my friend Tigress, “Just checking on you, I know you’re having a tough week. Let me know how you are, or what you need.” I instantly feel thought of, valued, loved, wanted…validated! What?! I know!!! (Also, Tigress fucking rocks!!! Scorpios rule!) That’s what it’s all about, we all want to feel wanted and needed and valued and heard and validated, man! So please call your loved ones, text/IM/whatever…let them know you care and want to help when/if they need help. Maybe you can’t physically help your friend move, but perhaps you know some folks who need some extra cash and have a cool van!
This is another thing I’m finding out everyday at my new job, just because you know something or have for ages doesn’t at all mean that anyone else knows this shit! You might be a fucking genius and not even know it! I’m serious! I constantly get asked, “How do you know that?!” and dazzle people with my googling/ebaying/amazon/bargain hunting skills. I’m a wealth of knowledge and resources and if I don’t know something, well someone does! We don’t know the true value of our own circle of influence. This goes both ways, too. So share and tell and do stuff and love some people, will ya?! But hey…love & care for you, first! 😉