Caregiver personality. Do you have one? Do you find yourself drained at the end of the day, having given too much of yourself to others? There is great joy in being the type of person who reaches out to help their fellow man but there is also the need to take great care when doing so.
Caregivers tend to act before evaluating, never thinking twice about extending their energies and support to one in need. But I have often reminded my caregiving friends to “Put on your own oxygen mask first, before assisting others,” the advice given on airlines during their safety protocols speech. Wise words these are. After all, how can you help anyone when you are “passed out?” Attempting to offer nurturing or support to another, without first taking proper care of yourself, puts you at great risk.
This advice comes back to haunt me, when working with my mentor, after we talk of how I am doing. “How many people am I sending my healing energies to and have I asked for my own energies to be topped up first?” “How many times am I giving of my self versus how many times am I asking for help?”
Caregivers need to stop and take stock of the “who, what, wheres and whys” of their support. Is this support healthy for all parties involved? Are they offering their assistance for the “right” reasons? Are they setting up an unhealthy scenario for either themselves or the recipient?
I see those around me feeing drained, feeling used, feeling disheartened because they have overextended themselves, have been unappreciated and or have been “burned.” Not all those, to whom we provide our caring support, are ready to take what we have to offer to help themselves to grow and become able to stand on their own. Some are not yet ready and some, simply, are just energy suckers.
There are also those caregivers who’s offering of support is actually their way of asking for validation of who they are, of their worth to another. A cycle of codependency is established as a way of feeling needed and loved, covering up feelings of insecurity or inadequacy.
Like a moth to a flame, caregivers find themselves continually drawn in to situations of need, so it is vitally important that they be able to see the light for what it is. Awareness and discernment are key elements of our spiritual journey. For without them, we soon wear down our bodies and our soul.
Many seem to feel that to ask for help or to say no, is to act in a selfish manner. In order to not be considered selfish, many take the opposite stand and become self-sacrificing. There needs to be a middle ground. Tending to the needs of others at our expense opens the door to eventual resentment and bitterness.
It is easy to get caught up in our earthly existence and to forget about the spiritual support that is available to help us with our decisions and actions. Meditate, call upon your guides, take a walk. Do what you need to do to see the situation clearly, from both sides. Most of all, “Healer – heal yourself.”