I grew up the youngest of four kids. My two older sisters and I share the same biological parents. My step Mom adopted my brother when she was married to her second husband. My Dad was her third husband. When my step Mom and Dad first got together, us three girls lived with our biological mother. Her name is Deb. Deb called my Dad one day ready to send us to social services. My Dad was going to let her, as he didn't feel adequate to care for our needs, either. My step Mom, or my Mom as I call her, stepped in and said she would take care of us. She didn't want us separated or worse yet, on the streets. Wow!!! What a sacrifice! My sisters were 4 and 5 years old at the time. I was 6 months old.
The sacrifices that my Mom made for us did not stop there. It was non stop. Everything we ever needed was provided, at the expense of Mom and Dad going without. There was no other choice that could have been made and nothing anyone could do about it. The sacrifices were beyond just basic necessity. My Mom and her side of the family have very high standards. My Mom is a perfectionist. When we went to the lake, burgers on the grill on paper plates wasn't good enough. It was steak with real dishes and silverware. Sounds great, right? OMG, those standards were the most stressful part of childhood for me. When Mom went through that kind of trouble, being around her was like walking on eggshells. She was constantly upset, angry and yelling at us the whole time. This was also what every holiday she ever hosted was like. Going to potlucks meant bringing enough food from one family to feed an army. She told us that's what people with class do and that too many other people were bringing one small dish just enough to feed 3 people were coming. She was worried about shortage of food. Is it any wonder why going home for the holidays or just visits are something I would rather avoid?
The other families who did not put as much pressure on themselves were having fun and their Mom's super cool and relaxed. Everyone was jealous of our meals. We were jealous of the peace and harmony in their families. Observing our parents and their choices certainly shapes who we are. My take away from my upbringing is that putting other people's needs above your own can manifest in ways that actually hurt the people you are trying to help. When we are not whole, everyone around us knows it. This is not meant to judge my upbringing. It is only meant as an observation of my upbringing.
I notice similar types of interactions with other people in general. One example is therapists and other body workers putting their clients needs above their own by not scheduling appointments for themselves with other professionals or cancelling on them when a client wants the same day and time. When I get worked on by these same professionals, they are tired and express hoping their next client won't show up. What? When I used to work out of a massage franchise, the break room was filled with constant negativity of listening to the other therapists complain about which clients they didn't like and who they wish would stop requesting them. Yep, you heard that right. When you work for someone else other than yourself, you don't get to make any of your own decisions and this type of negativity is the result. This has actually been my experience at every multi therapist practice I have been at, whether or was a massage franchise or a privately owned massage practice. If you are being worked on by a therapist who works for someone else other than themselves, you risk being worked on by someone who may wish that they didn't have to work on you at all.
The point that I am making with this post, are my perceptions and observations about why I make the self care choices for myself that I do. I screen all potential new clients to determine whether or not we are a right fit to be working together. I think this is the level of service that potential clients deserve and it's the fair and right thing to do. I offer a unique style of body work that is not a massage and gets better long term chronic pain relief results. You appreciate knowing what your getting is advance and what to expect. I was not allowed to be unique at the other massage places that I worked out of. They do not like that.
The reason I work on myself and get worked on by other professionals is so that I can be the best version of myself that I can possibly be. I really can't do that without putting my own needs first. Everyone deserves me at my best. If you are particularly moody, you might be an empath. This is something to watch out for. Are you taking stuff out of other people who haven't done anything wrong? Are other people taking their stuff out on you when you haven't done anything wrong? This is a result of not cleaning up your own "laundry". How many piles of dirty "laundry" do you have hanging around.
Back to my family. Many of them have serious major medical problems. I do not. While there are numerous reasons for illness and I am not placing blame. Even self care junkies may have some major medical issues they were born with. My point is, that self care can have big rewards in the long run. The are two kinds of people out there. Those who only see what is in front of them and then the big picture people. I am the big picture type who knows that all of the money that I am spending on body work services, chiropractic appointments, special supplements, exercise DVDs, fitness equipment,etc., is significantly less than what my family is spending on their health, even with good insurance. Any time and money I don't put toward my well being now, could lead to an inevitable trip to the hospital.
Do what is right and realistic for yourself. Is there something you always do yourself that you can delegate? What are you comfortable delegating and what would you rather handle yourself? When I used to go to networking groups, several people who work on websites and print for a living wanted to work with me, but I am a control freak who doesn't want other people touching my stuff, but I am willing to take suggestions and apply them. Take on honest assessment of what is right and realistic for you. Not what other people think is right for you. But what you know is right for you.