....as you would have them do unto you. I was raised on this adage and I believe it. My family and I try our best to always treat others as we would want to be treated. However, as I'm getting older, I would add this annotation:
Do unto YOURSELF as you would have others do unto you.
So many of us, especially those of us who are moms, spend our lives doing for others, happily and lovingly, but sometimes at the expense of our own good health and/or sanity. This point was made very clear to me yesterday.
Yesterday was not an easy day for me. No need to go into details, but suffice it to say that by 11:00 I was spent physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I felt a strong need to curl up at home and savor a few hours of quiet solitude to recharge my whole self before the responsibilities of the afternoon and evening came calling.
Someone needed me. It was not one of my kids, it was not another family member, it was not a close friend; in fact, it was someone whom I would barely categorize as an acquaintance. But she needed me.
I did not want to go. I did not want to shoulder this burden. Every bone in my body was crying out "No, don't do this! You need to take time for yourself."
But even louder than those bones was my head. Saying, "I have to. Do unto others..."
Ultimately my head won out. I gathered up what little energy I had and went to help this person. The person left my presence in much better shape than before, while I was left even more depleted of overall strength and spirit.
Did I recover? Yes of course. Did helping out this person cause me any long-lasting damage? No, of course not. But the events of yesterday taught me a valuable lesson:
Yes, we must always do our best to help one another and treat others with love and kindness.
BUT NOT ALWAYS AT THE EXPENSE OF OURSELVES.
My time is just as valuable as someone else's. My health and well-being are just as important as someone else's. I do not always have to put my needs behind everyone else's, especially when doing so could compromise my ability to do what I know I am supposed to be doing in this world. Taking care of myself is not selfish, it's necessary. Period.
Do unto others? Yes, as much as possible. Do unto myself? Absolutely. No exceptions.