Running on empty? Here’s a strategy to renew, refresh and re-energize yourself. The biggest source of energy drain is stress, and the biggest source of stress is our own beliefs and expectations.
When we learn as children that “it’s better to give than to receive” and that our greatest value is in what we give to others, we often adopt the notion that we should always be in give-to-others mode. And that belief can be devastating because it can cause us to feel guilty when we take time for ourselves.
There are three ways to deal with the give-to-others mindset.
1. Adhere to it religiously. These people are forever deferring their own wants and needs to serve other people, and they are generally very stressed.
2. Ignore it altogether. These people have rejected the idea of “better to give than receive” and put themselves first. They tend to be selfish and thoughtless.
3. Include self in the “give” equation. These people understand the value of self-care and have established a healthy balance between caring for others and caring for self. These are the happiest, healthiest people in the world. It is in this space that we are able to renew, refresh and re-energize ourselves, which increases our ability to benefit others in significant ways.
The strategy I am going to share with you is to help you join this third group.
The first thing to understand is that you can only give to others what you own. So if you are stressed and frustrated, that’s what you share even if you don’t intend to.
Second, it’s important that you understand that you can’t reduce stress by trying to manage your behaviors. Behaviors are just a symptom. They are never the cause. In fact, noticing behaviors and getting upset when they don’t meet our expectations for ourselves only increases stress and traps us in a vicious cycle that is very hard to escape… unless we have a really good strategy (which I’m about to give you).
The stress cycle that forms around the belief that we should always serve others first is especially hard to escape because when we have bought into that idea, taking the time for self feels selfish. We feel guilty even considering it, much less actually doing it.
And you can’t reason yourself out of that trap. You have to change it at it’s source, and that source developed back when you were a small child. When you continually put your own wants and needs on a back burner to take care of other people and other things, it’s like having a hungry, thirsty child clinging to your leg begging you for the attention it really does need, and you are saying to that child, “as soon as I have everything done and make sure everyone is happy, then I’ll take care of you.
The problem with this is that there never comes a time when everything is done and everyone else is happy. So that child that needs your attention keeps getting louder and louder, and gets more and more distracting in an effort to get your attention. And you keep expending more and more energy trying to keep it quite.
The ‘child’ is the part of you that needs your attention and as long as it’s noisy, trying to get your attention, you can change the way you self-care and get much better results. When your child goes silent from neglect, you are in trouble. That’s when depression sets in.
The fact that you are reading this tells me that your child is still making noise, and that’s good. The following exercise will help you and your inner-child live a fuller, happier, healthier life.
You can either read through the exercise, or listen to it. If you prefer to just relax and listen, there is an audio link at the bottom of the instructions.
1. Picture that hungry, thirsty child clinging to your leg.
2. Notice how old the child seems to be.
3. Get close enough to it to see its face and what it’s expressing. Is it sadness? fear? anger? loneliness? What is the child conveying to you?
4. Now that you can see the child, it needs to see you. So let it see you as you are now, an adult in possession of all the things you have learned over the years, with your ability to be kind, and loving, and helpful.
5. As you present yourself to the child, say to it sincerely, “I’m so sorry I wasn’t here for you before. I didn’t know that I could come and help you, but now that I know, I’m here and I want to give you everything you need to have just the life you want.
6. Reach out and take the child’s hand and put it on your heart. This tells your subconscious mind to bypass the child’s head and yours, so the child receives your intent straight from your heart. As you make that connection, the child will become aware not only of your true intent, but also of all the abilities and talents you were born with; those you have developed and those waiting to be developed, and it can tap into all of them. Know that the more you share your skills, abilities and talents with the child, the more you have for yourself, so you can generously allow the child to receive everything it needs to have the life it wants.
7. The child will keep its hand on your heart as long as it needs to in order to receive everything it wants. When it has everything it wants and needs to have just the life it wants to live, the child will remove its hand from your heart and step back so you can see it.
8. When the child steps back, it will have transformed because it now has everything it needs to live the life it wants to live. Notice what the child looks like now. Notice its energy; what’s it’s expressing. It might present as more grown up, or it might be the same age. Does the child look happy, confident, and free to enjoy its life now? If so, the child now has everything it needs, and you gave those gifts to the child. So now the child has something to give to you in return.
9. Notice that the child is extending its hands toward you offering you its gift. That gift is something you can use right now to live the life you want to be living.
10. Take the gift and, as you do, you become aware that what the child is giving you, is what you need right now to live the life you want to be living. The gift contains happiness, confidence, capability, freedom, or whatever you need right now to live a full and fulfilling life.
11. Thank the child for all the wonderful attributes contained in the gift and receive each of them into your mind and body. Feel what each attribute feels like as you receive it. Notice that each attribute results in a cellular transformation as you receive it. Every part of your body receives each and every attribute contained in the gift. Notice as they flow all through your mind, and all through your body.
12. When you have received all the attributes the child placed in that gift to you, thank the child for the gift and either allow the child to integrate with you or let it go off to live the life it wants to live, whichever it chooses. In either case, it will remain happy and free.
13. What you received from the child is yours to keep and all those wonderful attributes will express automatically and effortlessly for you from this moment forward.
14. To check the affect of freeing the child and receiving the attributes you just received, call up a situation where you would normally ignore your own needs to do what someone else wants you to do. Move into that scene now with all the attributes you just received. Notice how differently you feel and act. You have a new understanding, new awareness, new strengths and abilities. You are now free to call your own shots; to decide how and when you will serve others, and you will never again leave yourself out of the equation.
Here’s the audio file. Pause it whenever you need time to process a step.