Yes, I’m writing this letter to you. I know we’ve talked about this topic before. I thought it would be good for me to write down a long piece on why it’s important for you to devote time to yourself.
So, you know, you’re a very compassionated person. So compassionated that you tend to think always about the people around you. How are they feeling? How can I help them? Your devotion to others is incredible.
Your natural instincts to protect and help others are so powerful that you neglect the most important being around, YOU. The worst part is not that you neglect yourself, it’s that you’re blinded to the fact.
The truth is, giving away only works if you have something to give away. To have something to give away, you need to build up your personal reservoir of happiness.
“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” — Dalai Lama
And the truth is that you aren’t at peace with yourself. Quite the opposite. You’re at war with your better half. And you need to stop.
Yes, if you stop helping people, people will suffer. If you take time for yourself, people will suffer. If you disappear from people’s lives, they will suffer.
But people suffered before you, and they will suffer after you. While we do make an impact around us, we also need to understand that we aren’t omnipresent, nor should we. We are humans. We are fallible; we are fragile.
Helping others is an act of sustainable kindness.
If we give too much, we will consume ourselves. We will burn down and won’t be able to help anyone else. Helping others is an act of sustainable kindness. It needs to be sustainable on the long-term, and for that, you need to build stamina.
Ahh, but how do we do that?
The first step is to learn how do you feel at any point. Sit down, close your eyes and let your mind fly. How does it feel? Is it quite? Is it relaxed? Or is it like a cosmic soup? Is it screaming and running around like a mad person?
Yes, you know how that feels. You’ve experienced it before. You just need to make a habit every day of sitting down and assessing where are you.
The second step is to take time for yourself. Yes, I know, inefficient!! But you know what? Fuck inefficient. That’s just a word. Good things take time. Happiness takes time. Love takes time. So take that time. You owe it to yourself and to those you want to help.
What to do with that time? Well, many options. Try new things, create new habits, recover old ones. Above all, do things that make you happy. You know that feeling right? Those tiny butterflies in the stomach? That stupid need to grin so much that your face hurts? Happiness.
The third step is to try and stay away from things that are bad for you. This is, probably one of the hardest things to do. Conflicting feelings right? One that tells you that you can’t stop doing it. Another voice that says that such behavior is only hurting you and will be bad for you in the long run.
Listen to your long term voice. Always. I’m all for being impulsive, but being impulsive isn’t being suicidal. If something burns, you remove your hand from it. For this to work, you do need to understand what’s not good for you. Do you?
Ask yourself, what kind of behaviors hurt me, what kind of people are toxic to you, what type of situations always end up in tears. Walk away from them. No regrets, no tears. Just. Do. It.
As always, this is a process. I don’t expect you to do it. I know you. You won’t. But maybe, just maybe, you’ll take a tiny piece of advice from this letter. With time you might start making another change, and then another one.
You are needed. You matter. But I need you to be whole, not a shadow of who you can really be. Be brave. Take action and get to work.