Monday, October 1, 2012

10/2/12—Taking Care of Yourself First

Today's Draw Classic*: Six of Coins from the Raven's Fool Tarot. Do you tend to give all your energy to others and end up being left with none for yourself? Do you ever ask yourself why you, metaphorically speaking, put the oxygen mask on everyone else before you put it on yourself? And are you so depleted and fed up that you're finally ready to do something about it?

First off, I don't know how old this deck is, but it's new to me. A lot of people will enjoy the raven imagery. And the cards are sort of square-ish, printed on high quality paper stock. It's self-published and not expensive. You can purchase it at 

OK, now that I've taken care of the tarot geeks (heehee), the Six of Coins is about giving and receiving. Often this card will come along when you're either the recipient of someone's generosity or you're the generous one. 

I've talked to a number of friends recently about a nuance of this topic and I know it's quite common, especially in the spiritual realm, but we all need to learn to both give and receive. Too many of us give—and, too often, we give to people who deplete us. If we imagine that two people come together to create a balance between them, then the more of a selfless giver you are, the more you'll attract energy suckers who don't return the energy. The more of an energy sucker you are, the more you'll find compulsive givers. And the more in balance you are, the more you're going to attract others in balance. 

Having been an over-giver myself (as well as having be the energy sucker), I can say that giving too much can be rooted in self esteem issues. We think the more we give, the more people will like us or the better they'll think of us. And we want to be liked and admired. And even though we feel we give freely, we usually end up feeling anywhere from slightly bitter to enormously bitter about the people who take, take, take and give nothing in return. But because we give for reasons other than purely to give, no strings attached, we bring this upon ourselves, as well as the exhaustion and health issues that go with it. 

Another side to this coin is that over-givers usually have a hard time receiving, too. People try to give to us, but we don't let them. Or we expect them to give tit for tat and we don't recognize the other ways they give. If any of this behavior sounds familiar to you, you need to ask yourself what truly is your motivation for giving? Because this behavior is holding you back from reaching an important turn on your path. 

Call it learning to say no. Call it learning to receive. Call it allowing others to give in the way they need to give. Or call it telling the slimy energy suckers to fark off. Call it what you will, but it's an important element of your self care. Have I ended or moved away from friendships over this? Yes. Do I have energy suckers in my life right now? Yes. But the difference is that now my boundaries are such that I protect myself from these people. I say no. I distance myself from them so they don't get the idea they *can* take liberties. I'm willing to risk seeming "rude" by not giving them the attention they demand. And if I say yes when I really want to say no, I apologize for changing my mind and change my yes to a no. Even if it pisses them off. Also, when I do say yes, I make certain it's something I can give freely without expecting anything in return. 

It's not just about giving "things", either. It's also about people who just drain you of your energy in whatever way. I used to feel guilty or bad for cutting off friendships like that. But I don't anymore. They find people to hang on to for their own survival. And I find a way to extricate them for mine. Trust me, they'll find someone else to feed them. Or they'll move on and advance on their own path. Neither of their choices, however, are your business or for you to worry about.

Most of you know me as a nice, kind, compassionate person. And I am. You can be that way without playing host to parasites. It just takes standing up for yourself and taking responsibility for your own path. You can't move forward when others, who are not interested in growing and changing, are clinging to you and holding you back. You just can't. And your primary responsibility is to yourself. And I stand by that position, even if you're married and have children who are this way. Being committed to a relationship doesn't mean giving up your boundaries. Stick to your guns enough and they'll learn a more equitable way of getting your "yes". 

I know all this sounds tough. The biggest misunderstanding about spiritual people who choose to walk a path of compassion, faith and growth is that we're weak. Too nice. The reality is we're strong and firm enough to set the boundaries we need to set in order to focus on moving forward on our paths. We're strong enough to be compassionate and kind without being a patsy. To know how to fuel ourselves without depleting others. To be so "selfish" as to show the same loving kindness to ourselves that we extend to others. To give others the freedom and privilege of taking responsibility for their own paths. And to risk losing a person we care about, but who is nonetheless a parasite, in order to take responsibility for our own. 

Let them think you're a "meanie". Let them shout it to the rooftops. And while they're throwing their tantrum quietly, calmly walk toward the people who understand the difficulty of the choices you've made to take your soul to the next level.

*From a post originally written on 10/6/11.

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