The story is all too common…
I meet a social entrepreneur who is passionate about sustainability. Her work mobilizing great minds to solve global problems or repurposing materials for reuse in creative ways inspires her and creates change in the world around her. But, she is exhausted and underpaid. Her vision and passion call her forth, yet her physical body and direct environment are depleted.
Or, I meet a mother who is devoted to her family. Her children are thriving. She and her husband work hard – often long hours. The children are in the best schools and activities. She is tired and rarely takes time for herself. She doesn’t exercise or sleep as much as she used to. She and her husband work to create date nights to tend to their relationship, yet they are both tired and feeling disconnected.
We are taught that choosing love is about choosing to love those outside of ourselves. We are taught to be of service, to be kind, and to be successful.
Yet so often, we miss the most important piece – that choosing love must start within.
We can give only what we have ourselves. Think of it like a bank account. We can give of our money when we have it. For a short time, we can still give when we are in debt. But giving from sacrifice is not sustainable. This is true with our money and our life!
We all know what burnout looks like. Burnout comes from “choosing love” in a way that bypasses some part of our values and/or our health. Our culture celebrates this by the way – working harder or in ways that require us to deny our core tenets or physical needs.
I recently had a client share that understanding this concept through the lens of finances made so much sense to her. She was responsible financially because it was a logical process. But, when it came to taking care of her energy, body and skill set, she was far more likely to overextend herself.
She is exercising her self-love muscles these days. (I know, the term “self-love” used to make me twinge, too…but its necessary, and real!) She wants to make a difference in the world around her, and she knows that taking care of herself will allow her to make the difference she desires from her strength, health and wholeness.
She is learning to ask for time before making commitments so she has the space to make choices that align with her values and to be with the potential upset of others that comes with holding boundaries and saying, “no.”
Choosing love includes you.
What is it like to include yourself when you think of the way you treat people you most love? How can you be as generous with yourself as you are with your child?
What does it look like to first be the change you want to see in the world?