On Being Self-Full

I used to really struggle when it came to putting myself first, though taking care of others came very naturally to me. If I sensed that someone needed something, I quickly prioritized it, putting it above my own needs. I gave and I gave and then I would give even more, often to the point of depleting myself.

As a strong empath, much of my life has been experienced through the feelings of others. Within seconds of being around someone, I know exactly what emotions are processing through them, from the surface layer and all the way down to the most hidden.

At my best, this gift allows for me to be really good at what I do.

At other times, it has created confusion, anxiety, depression, exhaustion and a host of physical ailments.

Society taught me as I grew up to give selflessly while my empathy pushed me to try to manage everyone else’s emotions so that they would feel better. Initially, before I knew how to handle “being sensitive,” I had to numb myself with alcohol and drugs. The world always felt like it was just “too much” for me to handle and so I had to check out in order to manage it.

Once I got sober, learning to care for myself became a fast necessity. Valuing myself as my first priority was one of the most challenging lessons I had to learn, and it’s one that I’ve been working with for years now. Turns out, boundaries and self-care aren’t a one-shot lesson; they roll themselves out over and over again and with each step further into self-love, we extract a new layer to learn from.

For the longest while, it didn’t feel natural to prioritize my own needs, but what I realized was that unless I figured it out and put myself at the top of my own list, I wasn’t going to be good for myself or anyone else.

Even today, my primary impulse is almost always to over give, whether it’s of my time, my space, my knowledge, my heart or my energy. I have had to learn a lot of awareness so that I can step back and assess what areas of my life are pulling a little too hard on me so that I can adjust accordingly. I’ve had to assert myself in ways that have felt uncomfortable and hard so that I can understand my surroundings and the people in my life and find a way to interact with them in the way that best values my wellbeing.

And I’ve had to learn that self-care is non-negotiable. I still catch myself trying to circumnavigate this one at times. I’ll put it off or stick it behind a lists of tasks that I think are more important ~ and I can promise you that when I do this, it never ends well.

But when I am full because I have been nourishing myself and taking care of my own needs, the energy that I extend towards others is much more vibrant and alive. It is full of my own love of self that gets to spill over from a full vessel into the lives of others. It is infused with love and life and respect and honor because that is the energy that created it.

When I am around others who are doing the same thing: What a treat! We get to share in this beautiful exchange of energy that uplifts us both. Our hearts get to meet one another in a space of being self-full and we both are able to experience a richness of connection that is authentic and loving. Truly the best gift I can give to others is the highest version of me and it’s the one that I would like to receive from them as well.

Self-love keeps the soul humming.

What is one thing you can do to nourish yourself today? I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

Self-love keeps the soul humming.

Leave a Reply 16 comments

beck - March 16, 2016 Reply

i make baths with epsom salts and essential oils and meditate. my baths are luxurious, sensual treats i can easily give to myself on a regular basis… and i like to read your blog, of course ( :

    Janet Raftis - March 16, 2016 Reply

    I love it! Thank you for sharing! xoxo

Danette - March 16, 2016 Reply

Janet, I love your weekly blogs! Like many of your writings, this week’s because definitely resonates with me. I used to always put others first, but I truly learned (the hard way) that I’ve got to put myself first to really be good for others. I’m able to love in a much deeper, true place now. It’s not self-ish…it’s self-full and self-LOVE!

Thank you for all you do!!!

    Janet Raftis - March 16, 2016 Reply

    Thank you, Danette!!! It is so true what you said about how the love that springs from this self-full place is much deeper and truer. Love you!

Jenn - March 16, 2016 Reply

I sit quietly in nature. I turn off all energy reading/ communications with everything (animals, plants, people, etc.) and just think about my breath. Yesterday a squirrel was a bit annoyed at being ignored, and came right up to me to get my attention- ha! (It did not work.)

    Janet Raftis - March 16, 2016 Reply

    Hahaha!!! Silly squirrel! Nature is a good reset for me as well. I like the tuning out ALL communications part for a bit…I’m going to incorporate that. Thank you!

Jeff Fulton - March 16, 2016 Reply

My whole life has been taking care of others because of this urgency to put their needs above mine. It gets so bad (or it did) that I would get frustrated and finally lash out when trying to do the smallest thing for myself.
I am and will always be an empath to some extent (with the exception of few people, I can tell how they are feeling, and the pain is sometimes unbearable). I used to go for a 10 mile run to cleanse my inner self with pain on the outside.
My knee problems have made that difficult, so now I drown myself in my work, or go to the gym, put on my headphones and try to keep everyone at bay for at least a short while.

    Janet Raftis - March 16, 2016 Reply

    Thank you for sharing, Jeff. You are a beautiful soul and I’m grateful that you have come back into my life! I appreciate you and your support. xox

Cassie - March 16, 2016 Reply

I relate so much to this! Learning to take care of myself and sometimes put myself first was and is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to learn. I even lost what I thought was a really good friend through the process. And now I fear that my daughter is a very similar soul. Her ability to empathize since a baby or toddler has always blown my mind. Thanks, as always Janet for writing such sincere and honest thoughts.

    Janet Raftis - March 16, 2016 Reply

    You’re welcome and thank you for sharing! Sending much love to you and your adorable daughter.

Leah - March 25, 2016 Reply

How did I miss this?! I love you! Yes yes yes. This is awesome. “Self-love keeps the soul humming.” Indeed! Brilliant and beautiful. Just like you.

    Janet Raftis - March 27, 2016 Reply

    Thank you! Takes one to know one! xoxo

shannon nickerson - March 30, 2016 Reply

Self care for me is a 15 in soak in the hot tub first thing in the morning while I connect with the many birds and their songs singing me a lullaby. Soul humming. thanks janet.

    Janet Raftis - March 31, 2016 Reply

    Beautiful! I love that, Shannon. Thank you!

Diana Hope - April 15, 2016 Reply

Being the oldest of 4 kids, I learned early on to put others first. Thought it was expected and needed to survive after my father left us and returned when convenient for him. I’m feeling depleted at 60 years old and learning to say no and not take care of the world. Gardening is my outlet and I see curves and bends in my path that are beautiful and unexpected. Thank you for sharing this article. Hit home with me big time!!

    Janet Raftis - April 19, 2016 Reply

    Diana, thank you so much for sharing with us and I’m happy to hear that you are learning to take care of yourself. Sending a warm embrace your way!

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