A Note on Self Care and the Care of Others

For others to serve you, protect you, care for you, they must be doing the same for themselves. Then, naturally, for you to care for others and offer them your strength and support, you must care for yourself. In life there will be instances in which others will let you down: friends, parents, and significant others. This is often because they are simply unable to serve your needs. That does not mean that your needs are unimportant. That does not mean that your expectations are too high. Sometimes it might mean that the way you need to be loved is simply not the way this person shows love.

All too often there are relationships which are full of love, but it is not being communicated in a way in which both people understand. Sometimes we can find a way to understand the other’s needs.Sometimes we cannot. It is ineffectual to resent. If someone doesn’t love you in a way you can understand – in the way you need – then you have to decide if you are going to forgive them this, adapt your needs, or look elsewhere for that love and that support. It is not an issue of badness or goodness. It is not an issue of like or dislike. Your needs are valid. There will be people to fulfil them, but only if you are giving something back to yourself. It is not fair to expect the people around you to do all the caring for you: you must know how to care for yourself. Caring for yourself will make you a better friend, parent, son/daughter, boy/girlfriend. It is not selfish to care for yourself. It is the opposite. It makes you strong enough to care for others.

Have faith that the happiness you find will lead to happiness for the people you love. Equally trust that the happiness of the people you love will lead to your own. We are all connected, and our feelings interlinked. Resentment is one of the most toxic of emotions. If you are resentful you must ask yourself what your expectations were and how they have been disappointed. Perhaps this person can change. Perhaps you can change. But, just as possibly, the people that love you and that you love may be unable to change. I think we forget that love can be toxic. Just because you love does not mean it is healthy. I think we forget that within resentment there can be love. The healthiest love will grow from one who loves themselves.

Learning to love yourself will allow you to be assured of the legitimacy of your needs, and respectfully acknowledge those that can and cannot serve them. Learning to love yourself can allow you to fulfil some of your own needs – more than you realise. It is important to remember that some people will be able to fulfil some of your needs – will offer you things of immense importance – but may not be able to offer you everything that you need. These people are important. These people are so valuable. But there must be a balance: different people will benefit you in different ways. You are one of these people – for yourself and others.