We are rightly taught the importance of caring for others. But unfortunately this leads some to self neglect. There is nothing virtuous in attending to the needs of everyone else and neglecting the care of our own souls.
While some neglect others by looking out only for their own interest, others have the opposite problem – they become so focused on others that they neglect caring for themselves.
To be sure, there is a sense of joy and pride in meeting the needs of others. We feel good about ourselves and valued for being needed.
But if we are not careful, this comes at the high cost of self neglect.
Self neglect is the failure to provide our soul with what it needs to thrive, especially when it’s in our capability to do so.
For example, we’re neglectful of our bodies whenever we fail to maintain personal hygiene, adequate sleep, nutrition, and the timely care of any injuries or wounds.
And the same is true of our souls.
Our souls also need adequate nutrition and rest, along with regular cleansing and healing. And we are neglectful whenever these things are not provided.
As much as we want to care for others, our love is limited to the extent we care for ourselves as well. We cannot give what we have not first received.
And simply doing caring things is not the same as truly caring. When our motivation is our own need to be needed or feelings of guilt if we don’t help, our actions might be perceived as caring but they’re not grounded in true love.
Self neglect leads to a show of caring in our attempt to win a sense of love and belonging from others.
On the other hand, soul care leads to freely offering ourselves for the good of others from the best part of our hearts.
There is not much to offer from a neglected soul.
Care for others by first caring for yourself – letting the abundance of love received overflow into the lives of those around you.