Most women think of bubble baths and face masks when they hear the phrase “practice more self-care.” While these practices are relaxing and contribute to self-care, true self-care occurs when we prioritize our own desires and needs over those of others – after all, we can’t pour from an empty cup.
Why do we find it so difficult to set boundaries?
Growing up, we are taught to help others, and whenever we put others ahead of ourselves, we are praised. While it is important to consider other people, particularly those of the ones closest to us, it is also important to remember that we cannot give more than we have.
If you spend all your energy on other people’s needs, what’s going to be left in the end?
Here’s why saying no is part of your self-care
People who devote the majority of their lives to helping others risk becoming depleted and demoralized as a result of their efforts. When something becomes uncomfortable for you or causes you great discomfort, it is time to say no.
Many jobs demand far more of their employees than they are willing or able to provide, which causes great stress and discomfort for everyone involved. Do you want a job that makes you feel appreciated and valued? Join my Facebook group, FREE The Strategic Job Search Community, and I’ll walk you through the process of locating your ideal position.
Consider the safety speeches on a plane, where you will be asked to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others do the same. Even though it may seem wrong to refuse to help someone in need, refusing to help others first doesn’t imply malice or evil intent, it simply means that you must help yourself before you can help others.
Next step: Increase your self-awareness
Sit down and think about all the times when you felt extremely uncomfortable being asked to do something by someone else. This will demonstrate where to set boundaries to prevent a recurrence of these feelings.
Boundaries don’t mean you’ll stop helping others, but they do mean you’ll only do so if it doesn’t harm you in the process.
What happens if you don’t create any boundaries?
Allow me to show you how the use of an elastic band can be an example of what happens if you don’t set any boundaries. If you continue to pull on the band in all directions for an extended period of time, it will eventually lose its elasticity, become rigid, or rip. If you allow others to pull you in multiple directions, it can have a negative impact on your mental health and eventually burn you out.
You may be torn between wanting to help others and protecting yourself, but as time passes, you’ll see how much better your life will be if you put yourself first and stop allowing others to tear you apart like an elastic band.
Most Americans have reported being taken for granted and plainly abused in most workplaces for decades, and this is no exception. In addition to setting boundaries, you can do this by finding a job that encourages you and treats you well. The Strategic Job Search Course, helps you set boundaries for yourself and find a career you enjoy and feel fulfilled in.
In the end, you may have heard the saying, “you can’t pour from an empty cup,” but what’s more important to realize is that you can give so much more from an overflowing cup. When you take care of yourself first, you’re able to help others even more.
I’m an Executive Career Coach, the CEO of Optimized Career Solutions, and host of the Attagirl Podcast. I’m a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) who spent my career as a corporate recruiting leader, working hand-in-hand with decision-makers. I’ve personally reviewed over 200,000 resumes throughout my career. I’ve helped thousands of career professionals to land their dream job through my executive coaching program the 6 Figure Career Boost, and have worked with companies on creating a culture that’s inclusive and fosters growth.