When the lives of those around us seem overwhelmingly difficult in comparison to ours, it is easy to get caught up in the idea that we must work ourselves to the bone to make things better for others.
It seems to be an insatiable addiction in some cases: As long as I still have more than those around me, we tell ourselves, I have more to give. We will tell ourselves this night after night, day after day, time after time, until we have eventually whittled ourselves down to an entirely depleted place. It seems to be a noble endeavor to selfish alternatives. But what if those alternatives weren’t so selfish after all?
Here’s the truth of it: We need to be at our best in order to give our best to others. Chiseling ourselves down in the endless pursuit of helping others is to also chisel down what we are able to give. Nothing works best on low battery. And the electronic devices that are likely to boot down when you need them the most are the ones that are never re-charged. You work this way, too.
Keeping ourselves refreshed, invigorated, and inspired is our best shot at serving the world around us. All the best things we have to give come out of the energy we pour into our lives and loved ones. And that energy cannot be nurtured without some TLC.
This is your excuse to have a “Me” day. It’s your excuse to focus inwardly. It’s your reason for saying no when you really can’t take on another project at work, or when you just need to take some time to yourself. It’s your excuse to be aware of what you need and when you need it, but it’s your responsibility to do so as well. Whatever you need to do to retain both your sanity and your happiness, do it. Depleting your energy and livelihood when you have the resources to let yourself thrive is a privilege you may not always have. It’s a privilege you have the responsibility to engage in if you want to become the best, most effective version of yourself.
This is true on a day-to-day basis and it is true on a long-term basis as well. Your childhood pipe dreams may be a whole lot further from indulgent fantasies than you’d think. The truth of the matter is that whatever captivates our interests and causes sparks our passions is what we ought to be doing to put the absolute best work we can out into the world. The world doesn’t need one more half-asleep person typing carelessly away at one more project that will be finished with a sense of indifference. What the world needs is invigorated, inspired people who can be the bright, shining reminder for others that better things are possible.
Taking care of our well-being, managing our energy, and readily engaging in our passions are not merely self-indulgent endeavors. These actions are the fuel for creating the incredible changes that we’re capable of. Taking care of yourself may be the best way possible to take care of the world around you, too.