There is an idea that I absolutely love and I would like to share it with you. Before my diagnosis and prior to my practice in mindfulness, this idea never crossed my mind. But now, I embrace it, because it could not be more true. It reads something like this:
“If you do not take care of yourself first, you will not be able to take care of anyone else.”
Yes, I agree that this is a simple notion. But how often do you actually abide by this? How often do you go to work feeling ill because you cannot take a day off? How many times have you gone out on a weekend night solely because everyone else is going out – even if all you wanted was a night in alone or with a loved one? How often have you put someone else’s to-do list above your own?
Before my tumor took out its lease in my brain (see the past blog post), I was not practicing self-compassion to its fullest extent. Some people who do not practice self-compassion may tell me – “well Paul, I am taking care of everyone else before myself, doesn’t that make me a hero/leader/inspiration?” Well, yes and no. Let me explain.
When Are You Useful (or Useless)?
If you are a true leader, you most likely have a mindset of “family before myself”, “team first”, or something along those lines. And while I agree that helping others makes the world a better place, let me lend you some very real, and blunt advice:
If you are dead, you are useless to your loved ones.
Personally, I would gladly take a bullet for the ones that I love most. But until that bullet comes flying from the barrel, I need to make sure I am at my very best in order to help the people I love, whether it be my family, loved ones, friends, colleagues, etc.
Continue to help others as best as you can, but before you do, enjoy that cup of coffee in the morning. Take that relaxing shower you have been waiting for all day. Take ten minutes to meditate before you go out.