My favorite thing about the Internet is that you sometimes find kindred spirits across the vast universe that is cyberspace. In Katina Hubbard, I found a writer who blogs/writes thoughtfully and insightfully about women’s self-love and value. She wrote this lovely guest post that I wanted to share with you guys as we prepare to celebrate love this week. Enjoy!
By Katina Hubbard, Women Well Loved
My mom erroneously taught me that taking care of other people is the surest way to take care of myself. So that’s what I did. I treat my boyfriend better than I treat myself. I will not let him be taken advantage of. If he’s sick, I’ll stop everything to take care of him. I make sure he’s got three vegetables on his plate at every meal. And what do I eat when he’s gone? Luna bars, chips and salsa, sea salt caramels…
What makes this notion so ridiculous is that the majority of us humanoids aren’t selfless enough to hold up this facade for very long. I know I’m not. There’s a limited amount of time that I can put others’ needs before my own. Pretty soon my well runs dry and I’m tempted to point fingers at everyone who I’ve been giving, giving, giving to while depriving myself of myself.
Unfortunately, I’m not alone with this. Many women I know are learning to balance taking care of ourselves with taking care of other people.
My best friend and I haven’t lived in the same place since our first summer out of college when we shared a bedroom without air conditioning in her professor’s apartment on the Upper West Side. Our living conditions have improved but now we have to stay in touch via phone and text.
Quite often, she calls and asks me a hundred thoughtful, personal questions. How was the interview? Did you have the new dress altered? What did he get you for your birthday? What did your mom say? How do you feel? Here are a dozen helpful suggestions for everything you’re going through… She’s being incredibly sweet and understanding but I started to realize that this was her sign that something was wrong.
She was giving me help because SHE NEEDED HELP. She was taking care of me instead of taking care of herself. I’d interrupt her and say, “What’s going on in your life?” Even if she wasn’t ready to talk about whatever she was going through, I could empower her by saying: “You seem like you need some help right now, you deserve to get it.” She’s so good at taking care of other people, she’ll do it even when she’s got nothing left.
Part of it is societal. The other part is in our DNA: men protect and defend, women provide and nourish. That works well when we’ve got 9 kids running around and an attack from rebel tribes is imminent. Today, however, most of us are privileged to have the freedom to be more than the female of the species – we can be wholly and uniquely who we are.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love & affection.” – Buddha
Women have hearts capable of limitless love, devotion, and sacrifice. Therefore we must protect our most powerful asset. We must hold each other accountable to ourselves. Single or married, rich or poor, men or women, let us make a list of our needs and work to achieve them. Let us hold each other accountable to our dreams. Let us hold each other when we need to be held.
I can’t afford to put my own needs aside for the good of a few people around me. There is too much to do this lifetime.
The world needs us as our whole selves.
Check out more from Katina Hubbard at http://www.womenwellloved.com