People in difficult relationships often neglect themselves for the following reasons:
- They are overwhelmed with the relationship problems.
- They believe self-care is selfish, sinful, or unspiritual.
- They believe they are responsible for others.
- They don’t value their own wants and needs.
- They believe they are not worth it.
- They feel compelled to fix others.
- They believe they should always put others before themselves.
Is it selfish, sinful, or unspiritual to take care of yourself? Yes, if you are completely unbalanced and care only for yourself in a narcissistic, self-centered way, but that isn’t the problem most people in difficult relationships have. Instead, they give too much.It isn’t selfish to care for yourself; it is necessary and essential. The Apostle Paul was telling husbands how to love their wives. He used the following argument: “Husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body” (Ephesians 5:28-29, NIV). He is saying it is natural to nurture yourself. There isn’t anything wrong with it at all. In fact, he is telling the husbands that all they have to do to love their wives is to take care of their wives just like they take care of themselves.
How can you have anything to give others if you don’t first nourish and nurture yourself? Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10, NIV). You can’t live a full life when you are guilt-ridden, work-driven, others-focused, and deprivation-based.
“Nurture” means to provide what is needed for something to succeed, grow, and develop. You can live a full life only when YOU nurture YOURSELF! And the more stressed and stretched you are by your difficult relationship, the more self-care you need. You will even find that when you value yourself enough to take care of yourself, other people value you more too.
Learn how to do the following:
- Get your mental, emotional, spiritual, and relational needs met.
- Determine whether you should put your own need or someone else’s need first.
- Establish priorities for your life.
- Overcome false guilt that drives you to people-please.
- Choose what you want to do for others rather than doing things for the wrong motives.