Give to Myself First

Thursday 12 October, 2000

The men’s group tonight was very good. After my time in the garden with Karaj recently, and particularly this morning when we worked so hard, I felt confident in the group and made more of a contribution than has been normal of late. As a result, I got more out it.

George was the main focus. His story of the hospitality he extended to his brother left George feeling angry and possibly resentful. We concentrated on his lack of effective listening, attention and adherence to his own check list, and his desire for his brother to open up more.

George spoke of an acupuncture session he had had this week on his Achilles problem, which is also related to his anger (the foot: see children’s tantrums when they stamp their feet). He spoke of how the practitioner had been caring and gentle throughout, which in turn had helped George focus on his own need to give himself exactly the same – care, love and attention – and first, too. Before I can give to others I must be able to give to myself. When he recounted the opening exchange, Karaj pointed out that George had blocked the practitioner’s path from the start:

Acupuncturist: Are you okay with needles?
George: If they will help me, okay.

The ‘if’ is a block which the acupuncturist would be well advised to notice and say, ‘Okay, come and see me whenever you’re ready’. After all, there is no need for him to prove anything to anyone. If the patient isn’t ready, it’s okay – there’s plenty of time.

It was a wonderful few hours and the lessons I learned are:

  • Give to myself first, before I give to others.
  • Feel the pain of giving to myself, then I am ready to give to others. It hurts to give myself love, to care for myself.
  • If I give to others without giving to myself it creates resentment and jealousy in myself.
  • If others don’t want to know, let it go (don’t force it or rescue them. Leave them)
  • I don’t need to prove myself to anyone.
  • I cannot expect anyone to change.
  • Don’t try to observe, don’t try to see. Just see.

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