It may seem like a contradiction but is makes sense when you think about it: If we’re running on empty, we’re more likely to feel irritable or frustrated when giving to others, no matter how much we love them.
When energy is sapped, good will is susceptible to being clouded with resentment and altruism tips toward martyrdom. Appreciation for life and the people in it is nearly impossible, resulting in strained relationships, stagnation and feeling miserable.
One of my favourite quotes is the Sufi saying, “Give from the overflow of your well, not from its depths.”
To experience the true joy and fulfillment of benevolence, fill your energy bank account first and then give a tithing of your time and effort from the surplus you’ve created rather than donating from your overdraft and feeling stretched.
I know from experience it’s easier said than done. One of the hardest things I did recently was leave HappyTree in the capable hands of my employees with absolutely no contact for ten full days while I filled my own well at the Vipassana meditation course.
The first five days, the balance of my mind was tested by intense feelings of anxiety, guilt and attachment similar to what a parent might feel leaving their small child behind. By the end of the course, however, the deep sense of calm, peace, joy and gratitude that emerged benefited my business far more than if I had stayed in town working. My productivity, patience and inspiration were flowing and I felt renewed appreciation for having chosen a path that serves and benefits so many.
The real key is maintenance – establish daily and weekly self-care rituals for a good quality of life that sustains yourself and others.
Self-care Goal Setting Tips:
1. Establish a daily yoga and/or meditation practice
2. Plan and save up for a vacation or retreat
3. One day a week, turn off your phone and disconnect completely from email and social media
4. Schedule “me time” in your calendar and give it the same importance you would any other commitment or appointment
5. Be selective with how you spend your time and whom you spend it with. Make sure you keep a good balance between activities that bring “energy in” and “energy out”.
6. Get out of victim mode: if something’s not working for you do something about it. If there’s nothing you can do about it, save your energy by letting go of resistance to it.
7. Don’t wait until your sick or burnt out to take time off.
8. Re-commit to your goals from previous weeks of our challenge. Feeling good isn’t just a summer fling – it’s a life-long commitment!