Do you feel that putting yourself or your health first is selfish? Or sensible? I am not advocating being a “me-first” type of person who never thinks about anyone else! Far from it. But one important lesson I have learned during this time of healing is that there are definitely times when putting my needs first is not a selfish thing to do but something that in the long run is selfless. Let me explain.
If I neglect my health and run myself into the ground, I will not be able to help anyone else much less myself. When I was in the hospital and then recovering, particularly the first several weeks, it put a great deal of strain on the other members of my family. They had to pick up my slack so to speak and do the things I normally do on top of their own tasks. When one member of a family gets sick, it doesn’t just affect that person – it affects all the people who love them.
For example, if the doctor tells you that daily exercise is going to keep your bones and joints healthy and enable you to be mobile, flexible and active but you decide that taking 30 minutes a day for yourself is selfish, in a short time you will be less able to do your normal routine and it will affect your family. Doesn’t that seem selfish?
Women in particular, I find, struggle with this. I had a friend years ago who felt it was selfish to take time to go for a walk or take a quilting class. She believed she was to be putting everyone else first and constantly working around the house, otherwise she was being selfish and lazy. The problem here was that she complained about this constantly so rather than being selfish, she was being a martyr! She was getting enjoyment telling people how tough her life was. It made her feel self-righteous. That’s not the kind of wife, mother or woman I ever want to be.
Jesus had no problem going off by Himself to have some prayer and quiet time and he encouraged His disciples to do the same! He praised Mary for sitting at His feet and soaking in His wisdom while Martha was complaining that she needed help getting the meal ready. In the Bible this is referred to as the Royal Law – love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength and love your neighbor as you love yourself.
If you are stingy and strict with yourself, how do you think you’ll end up treating other people?
**I will be interviewed on the Wellness Workshop Radio Show tomorrow evening at 8 pm ET talking about my recent health crisis and healing journey. You can join here via live streaming. I will be offering a free copy of my new book detailing my experience, In The Blink of an Eye to all who listen. If you can’t listen live, there will be a replay link!
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