October 30, 2008

Perfectly Happy Going Without

Is it a woman thing? The more I talk t women the more I realize that women are more than happy to go without having certain needs of their own met but will work tirelessly to fulfill someone elses needs. Have we been conditioned to be happy going without and to find our fillfullment in serving others? I know I tend to feel guilt and selfishness when I focus on my needs. I often feel bad about asking for what I need or usually have learned a way to fullfill it on my own without the help of others.

DOES ANYONE ELSE FEEL THIS WAY? Anyone? I was able to go to a women's conference last spring. I didnt want to go, some friends talked me into going. And the discussion came around to this subject. The meeting turned out to be so uplifting. because one by one the women started to share experiences such as this. Turns out just about EVERYONE was feeling this way.

I took things a bit further and spoke to alot of my male friends. I was very shocked to find that very few of them felt this way. I think there were about 3 who said they experient it on a regular basis. But most guys don't really discuss these types of things most of the time either. Of the 12 male friends I asked, only 3 really experienced this.

What is it about the majority of women that we feel this need to be more concerned about everyone but ourselves? Part of it is the nature of being a mother and wife I'm sure. Especially most single mothers. The reason I single out single mothers is this: Most single mothers have their kids 24/7 with the exclusion of a couple holidays and everyother weekend. I've got a few single father friends who SAY they would love to have their child fulltime. I'm not sure they realize the impatience they have when they do have them for just the weekend. This doesn't mean they don't love them, because they do. Doesn't mean they don't miss them because they do. It doesn't mean they're sad to see them go when they leave because they are. But there is usually a sigh of relief that comes with getting their space and time and focus back on themselves.

I dunno, that's just my opinion from what I see in those around me.

Back to being so willing to go without. I was talking to my daughter yesterday. She's been in a funk this week and has decided not to go to a huge well known university halloween activity because she's afraid she'll put everyone else in a funk. A part of me cheers her on for her being such an unselfish child. She really is, she was never really greedy or one to get stuff just because she could or because it was free. She was always more concerned with someone else's needs above her own wants. But in doing so she's lost the balance of taking care of her own needs and wants. I'm not sure she really learned that balance, I know her mother hasn't. She voiced her guilt and discomfort in doing so. And being away at college she's figuring out what happens quickly if she doesn't learn to take care of herself as well as others.

I'm not sure how we go on this subject but I found myself in a dicussion about being co-dependant. This was a while back but whenever the subject of self sacrifice and going without comes up I remember the conversation about being co-dependant.
In our discussion we decided it was another imbalance of self love.
Too much self love brings on greed and lack of self awarness and flaws. It kind of mimicks too little self love which brings on lack of self respect and confidence and that can manifest itself as arrogance .
Too littl self love brings on passivness and people pleasing. Always bending and breaking and giving in to other peoples demands regardless of how it makes us feel. Always pleasing the other person to insure their friendship and love.

Well that's not good either. So what is the healthy balance of self love? What is the magic solution to finding a healthy balance of give and take?

In thinking this through it really is quite simple: Love thy neigbors AS thyself. As I have loved you, love one another.
Not more than yourself. Not less than yourself. AS... meaning AS MUCH AS... yourself.
It really does make sense.
If I'm taking care of you as much as I'm taking care of myself, and you're taking care of me as much as you're taking care of yourself, then we are both hopefully well taken care of.

I also heard... on a commercial ... someone actually said "if we all take care of each other then the world would be taken care of." Is it really this simple? Can it really be this simple? I believe it can be. I've seen it, and have experienced it in my community this summer. And when people realize they can put aside their wants for a little while and step up and provide a need for someone else it becomes very fullfilling for everyone.

We also need to be very careful about our own willingness to give. Giving can backfire if you enjoy doing it. Because people will expect and assume you to always have the ability to do it. So when you do take a mind to take care of your own needs, it becomes a problem especially in relationships. We have to be careful not to bend and adjust so much, that we lose ourselves and aren't getting what we need.
It's very loving to be able to take care of yourself. It puts you in a better position to take care of others. It actually makes you happier with others and more tolerable.
I think it's also very important to realize that more times than not, we are all on both sides of finding that balance. Our ability to talk and express it to each other with proper respect and undersanding to each other will help us all find that balance.