TENDING TO YOURSELF VS. TENDING TO OTHERS


October 28, 2021

It’s time for another community-sourced wisdom infusion!

Each month I select a question from the community and share it with you. I collate all the responses and share them anonymously with everyone -- so we can all learn from each other. See all the responses below.

Note: this month’s theme is around tending to yourself vs. tending to others.

Much of this letter is metaphorical:
I grew up in a household where I was expected to be generous, accommodating, and gracious with my space and time. The neighborhood community and far reaches of the global Network of Family Ties was informed of my life choices, relationship status, and interests. I was expected to show up and show off the benefits of such a tight knit spiral of Power. I did not agree to these Terms and Conditions. In fact, I verbally declined them multiple times, and yet the demand hung heavy on my shoulders. Great Responsibility to be the ideal and accommodating hostess. Reflecting all the attitudes of traditional valued heritage.

 

Perhaps a bit spoiled, I gave everything I could think of in terms of love and accommodation to my romantic pursuits. It felt like I was never able to get enough sunshine because I was never quite right for the other person's needs. I didn't feel like I was enough. I bent over backwards and sideways to shove myself into a role that would fit because I believed so strongly in our bond, in our love.

 

I am now taking time to wonder how to nourish myself, the inner garden of my deepest rooted ideas and wonder when I began shutting out the light to feed my needs I so freely shine on others.

 

COMMUNITY-SOURCED WISDOM:

"I too grew up believing that love was only possible by sacrifice. I’ve come to realize that only when my own cup is full, can I truly pour myself into another. I am fullest when I give myself the freedom to explore my own desires. What do you “wish” for? Replace the word “wish” with “want” and allow yourself the gift of personal expression. When your light shines brightly, the world feels it!"
~ Taylor

"You have to put on your oxygen mask before you can help/serve others well, but it can be hard to find when you aren't used to it. Start small, notice what things bring you joy -- foods, music, pictures, books, even shows/movies. See if there are any local classes or activities that sound interesting to you, even if they seem far out of your comfort zone, or conversely if they seem too mundane, and check them out! You could even wander around your local library and see if any books, from any section, call to you. Getting to know yourself and your very own unique likes and dislikes can go a long way towards self-nourishment. If you notice yourself serving others above yourself, be gentle with yourself. Many never even notice this! Treat yourself to some small indulgence, maybe a piece of chocolate or a song you like, perhaps a warm bath or lighting a candle you like, and trust that it's all part of the journey. Once you know yourself and your center, you will better notice when you are off-center, and it will gradually become easier to get back to yourself. Hope this helps!"
~ Melody

"Meditate. If that seems too strange, then travel to a beautiful place if it’s safe to do so, and find a place to be still and focus on your breath. Notice how similar you are to people who at first appeared to be different. Have you ever seen photos of far away places that you would love to step into? Also, in addition to flower essences like Expansive Presence, buy yourself some actual flowers! You can do it!"
~ Cathy

"What I find helpful is to turn towards the fears that block me from taking care of myself. I think a lot of them are universal. Are we scared we will be judged as selfish? Are we nervous we will drop the ball on someone else’s need, ultimately leaving us to be vulnerable to (what we imagine will be) inevitable rejection? If we acknowledge we deserve to have our own needs seen and met, do we have to feel angry about all the times others (and ourselves) did not see and meet them? I’ll work with infinite love, fierce compassion, gardenia and coralroot orchid. I’ll try to be kind to myself by validating how it is hard to fear those things- that of course it is a struggle, and that I am trying to control (key word being control) any of those things from happening. Ultimately what helps me loosen the grip on needing to put others first is acknowledging how it “protects” (or so my sly psyche wants me to think it protects) me to keep doing so."
~ Mary Beth

"I think now that I've been using flowers for some time that it's essential to first nourish oneself and when you have your well full, it naturally nourishes others. And that once you're whole a self-protecting mechanism happens naturally. Kind of like the stomach knows how to digest the food, we don't need to oversee it. The give and take is natural."
~ Daniela

"I would take time out for myself to do whatever sparks joy for me that’s refreshing and rejuvenating. It could be walking, meditating or gardening - simply whatever I feel like at that time. I see my little garden as part of this huge/giant universal garden. What good would it be for others if I left my garden neglected and overgrown with weeds? It is absolutely necessary for me to take care of my little garden which will benefit everyone. This is service to others."
~ Lynette

"I read a book a couple years ago that changed my life: How We Love, by Milan and Kay Yerchovich. It explained how we can have "love injuries" as a child when we aren't taught what healthy relationships look like; it's all based on child psychology attachment theory. It sounds like you were very much expected to be ‘pleaser’. In the book they reiterate how like a physical injury, with work, can be healing. Like you, I use the flower essences that help with my specific growth goals."
~ Sarah

"It has been my experience from various healing modalities and spiritual practices that I have come to this awareness. The most important aspect for having kept my personal life and public life in somewhat balance is: my mind, body, and soul require regular charging in which I do very regularly with a form of meditation. Good diet, regular exercise and sunshine, high frequency music, and remedies. Regular daily practice of thinking good, being good and doing good. Strive to stay as calm as possible as much as possible in all situations. The most important is checking in on my inner voice and guidance to make good choices from a place of what is best for me in the moment as well as what is best for those around me. Setting healthy boundaries while stating my truth in an assertive and kind way."
~ Carla

"It took a serious illness for me to come to that turning point. The ‘knowing’ that I never loved myself. Knowing the fear that runs in my veins and ego was to sabotage my purpose. My answer from my heart is: Step back and listen to your inner guidance. Say and really feel the vibration of loving yourself. Sit for three minutes everyday and ask the universe how you can be of service and live your life purpose.The last most important thing is to know that the universe has your back, so let the fear go and take a step into the light for yourself."
~ Joan

 

FLOWERS FOR TENDING TO YOURSELF

Infinite Love - encourages self-care (see Pink Magnolia)
Open Heart - vulnerability & curiosity (see Clock Vine & Lady's Mantle)
Boundless Wisdom - meditative spaciousness for wisdom to arise 
Luscious Embodiment - be your wild self
Wild Abundance - gratitude & appreciation for everything in life (see Peony)
Expansive Presence - sense that anything is possible (see Sweet Pea)

What advice do you have for tending to yourself vs. giving all your love and attention to others? What do you do when you notice that you’re not in service to yourself in the same way that you’re in service to others?

Leave a comment below with any words of wisdom.

Love & flower petals,


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