If you’re anything like me, you probably were never taught to take care of yourself before others. Until fairly recently in my adult life (after kids) it never occurred to me to put myself at the top of the proverbial totem pole. I was always very dutifully on the bottom, because I was taught to look after what was my responsibility and do it well. So with my drive and ambition I did that while driving myself right into the ground.

It was sometime after my second child and still pregnant with my third that my state of anxiety grew into a tiring panic state. I think it was in large part from my new conditioning to always answer to the needs of others – quickly. After all, little people need help when they need it. There is no waiting for diapers or boo boo’s or whatever other emergency erupts with small ones running around. It needs to be done now. So while staying on top of my responsibilities to my growing family, I failed in the responsibility I had to myself.

I won’t go into details about what my life looked like then. My guess is that it was very similar to the lives of countless caregivers who set out to create the ideal life without taking their own needs into consideration too. It’s paradoxical living at its finest. On one hand you love these people, on the other hand, you need space from them. Feelings of selfishness creep into living with the thought of anything less than grateful for the life you have.

It wasn’t until my husband told me that I have to relinquish my guilt, that I realized I had it all wrong.

It was at that moment I understood that taking care of me was not an act of selfishness. Hell it was heroic. You see, we can show up for our responsibilities in life from a place of less-than-full or we can show up feeling fulfilled. The responsibilities don’t change, but how we view them absolutely does.

So how do we do that?

Well it’s different for everyone, but the heart of it starts the same for everyone. It comes down to being able to answer two questions:

1. What’s your reason for living for you?

2. What’s your reason for living for the world?

You see, at the end of the day, we all need a purpose or we flounder without a goal – a mission. We need to be clear on what we want for ourselves and since we live in the larger world, we also have to take into account how that relates to the world we’re in.

We bring with us what we are. If what we are is purposeful with awareness of self and in relation to the greater world AND also from a place of fulfillment, well, then you are good to go! If you are less-than-full, then it’s time to step back and evaluate where you are, and where you want to be. That means being clear on what it takes to keep you filled and replenished.

You deserve to experience radiant vitality in your everyday life. You owe it to yourself and to those you love AND it’s a win for everyone!