A few weeks ago, I participated in a discussion entitled, “The Myth of Self-care.” The conversation honed in on the fact that although the word self-care might sound selfish, when done with the right attitude, self-care is actually one of the least self-centered things we can do. Let me further illustrate. A dried-up well in the middle of the desert provides nothing more than disappointment, while a well bubbling over with cool, life-giving water refreshes all who comes to it.
It is very similar with us. In order for our conversations to be refreshing, we must first be refreshed ourselves. This brings me to the topic of the most depressing date I ever went on. Although the story took place many, many years ago, it is still gloomy to think about. It was a blind-date, and we met for the first time at Starbucks. I was looking forward to strong coffee, lively conversation, and meeting someone new, but here are a few lessons from a blind date gone wrong.
I remember watching the woman whom I suspected was my date walk through the door. First impressions are a funny thing—although I possess no superpowers that I’m aware of—on that particular day, my Spidey-senses went off. A chill ran up the back of my neck, and a little voice inside my head whispered “run!”. Unfortunately, I was far too polite to trust my instincts and instead, stood to my feet and introduced myself.
After purchasing our coffee, my date and I sat down to what would become one of the most depressing moments of my early-twenties. My casual question of “How are you?” led to two hours of one depressing story after another.
This unfortunate girl had been in a car accident a few weeks earlier and was now getting shots into her back to reduce the pain. Apparently, she had scheduled her latest round of treatment shortly before meeting up with me. That day I learned how the medication was making her feel drowsy and sick in addition to a multitude of other problems she was facing, which I no longer remember. However, what I do remember clearly is that by the end of our date, I was drained.
Now, at this point, it’s important to know that I truly did feel bad for her. This girl was going through a major storm in her life and I am always sorry to see others hurting, yet this story also has an important lesson. Because my date was feeling down, what could have been a fun time turned into a gloomy experience. My blind date was in need of some serious self-care, and following this blind-date, so was I.
One of my college professors used to say, “You can not impart to others that which you do not possess.”
In order to communicate with energy, enthusiasm, excitement, and passion we must first be filled with these things ourselves. An empty well refreshes no-one, but a person who is overflowing is able to freely give to others out of their abundance. You are ultimately responsible for taking care of you, and although the term “self-care” may sound selfish, as you can see, it is in reality one of the most beneficial things that we can do—both for others and for ourselves.
With that said, what have you done recently to take care of yourself?