Born to Care

The dictionary’s definition of caring is, someone that shows kindness and concern for others.

Could it be possible that this is a very narrow perspective on the true meaning of caring?

My willingness to care came in many guises and started at a very young age. With a Mum who was sometimes ill or in overwhelm, I often took on the role of mother for our family until she was well enough to resume her life. I took it upon myself to tend to and nurture the animals we had at home when they became ill and as I grew older, I would offer my services to some of my neighbours, by taking their babies out for a walk in the fine weather to get some fresh air! (This was a relatively common practice back in Ireland in the 1950s).

By the time I left home, caring was second nature to me. Not surprisingly then, my career of choice was one within the caring profession which gave me ample opportunities to be supportive to the patients that I would work with on a daily basis.

My caring was however not just confined to humans and animals, as I also looked after the contents of the various homes that I lived in throughout my life. At one address, where I lived for 23 years, the kitchen appliances that were there when I moved in were still in perfect working order when I moved out.

From all that I have written thus far it would appear that I would get a PhD in caring and kindness if there was ever one to be studied for. But there was fundamentally one very, very important subject missing from my studentship, and that subject was Self-care and Self-love. I was an expert at looking after others, but took little if any real care of me and my body.

How can we possibly know how to look after others if we don’t know what it feels like to really care for ourselves first?

The notion that I was caring for myself by, for example, going on amazing holidays, buying lovely clothes and having the best hairdresser to style my hair (after all what more could a girl need?) I now know to be very superficial. How so? Because the upliftment I received from them was very short-lived, as a couple of days afterwards the novelty would have worn off, and it was back to the humdrum of life once again. I only fully understood the transient nature of these so-called acts of caring, when I discovered Sacred Esoteric Healing, a modality which speaks of an inner joy, which is available for us all to connect to if we simply choose to turn our gaze from looking outside ourselves back to within.

About seven years ago I was feeling very unwell and booked myself in for some Sacred Esoteric Healing sessions. During my first appointment, the practitioner spoke with me about my lifestyle and how I cared for and nurtured myself. As I shared about my holidays and clothes etc. something in me felt that I was being asked to go deeper with my views on what caring and nurturing really meant. As I lay on the treatment table I dropped into a very deep relaxed state,

Where I felt for the first time in my life just how fragile and delicate my body truly is.

So, in between sessions I took stock of how I was living my life, and I felt there was definitely room for improvement. Slowly I started to make changes to support me, and my body.

The nature of these changes came from listening to, and acting on what my body was telling me through the feelings that I felt in my body.

From this awareness I realised that such things as carrying two heavy watering cans when watering my garden was putting huge strain on my body and was not the way to treat, support, nurture or honour the beautiful, fragile woman I felt myself to be. Now I water with half-filled watering cans, and on days when my body is feeling tired I reduce this still further or I may leave it for the following day.

I then became aware that the thoughts that I had in my head were different to the feelings I had in my body. For example, at night before I started Sacred Esoteric Healing sessions, my body would often feel tired and would have liked nothing better than to be tucked up in bed, but my mind would override what I was feeling in my body in favour of staying up late to watch some TV programme or other. This would have a knock on effect as I would then feel tired starting a new day and would also need to resort to stimulants such as sugar and coffee just to get me through the day.

It was shocking to realise that I had lived most of my life disconnected from my body; it was like I was a floating head with just a vague awareness of my body. I am now very aware of the importance of caring and loving myself first, this in turn not only benefits me but all who I come into contact with.

By taking care of myself, by resting when I feel tired, eating nourishing food, and checking that I am not putting undue strain on my elderly body, I now invariably start my day feeling well rested, well nourished and vital. This is then the quality I take to all that I do and meet during the course of my day.

This way I am sharing the real vibrant and caring me with all I associate with.

Yes, I was born to care, but in order for it to be true care it must be from self-love and self-care first, then everything else will fall into place.

by Elizabeth McCann, aged 67, UK

You may also enjoy reading:
Nurturing Moments, True Self Care by Cherise Holt
Claiming What we know about Self Nurturing
by Jane Keep
The Princess and the Pea with Socks on
by Carmel Reid

950 thoughts on “Born to Care

  1. Letting ourselves feel the vulnerability and fragility of the body calls us to the responsibility of heeding this feeling and acting accordingly. And this might be something we struggle with as we have not allowed ourselves to connect to what this means in terms of how we now need to care for ourselves…especially so as we go deeper in layers with this understanding of self care and what it means to us specifically.

  2. There are times when I have really let myself feel the vulnerability and fragility of the body, but I can find it hard to feel this on a daily basis – I mean this not as a weakness but as a strength, for we can bring so much by really admitting how strong the body can be and yet vulnerable and fragile all at the same time!

  3. Elizabeth, thank you for this beautiful sharing – one that is pertinent to all of us! I have recently felt that I need to go so much deeper with my self care and that even though I could say that I have a fantastic standard of self care compared to where I was a few years ago, this now appears to fall very short of the depth that I really need to be at now. This reveals to me that self care is an ever evolving aspect, for as we grow and change in life, so too does the self care need to be adjusted and deepened. Wow!

  4. Self-care is very specific to each of us. What constitutes self-care for one person might not be at all caring for another. I know that for me it is incredibly self-caring to finish things before I go to bed and so I will always choose to stay up later in order to get something done because I know that this supports me to rest more deeply when I’m in bed but for another it might be way more supportive to hop into bed with things unfinished. We each need to feel into each and every detail for ourselves and be open to those details changing.

  5. Unfortunately many women still hold back that natural ability to deeply care and heal for others even though it is innately in them- there are still scars, memories, fears of when a women was hunted down and called a witch for simply expressing such natural nurturing qualities.

  6. Our current system allows doctors, nurses and other health professionals to be in a constant state of overwhelm, this is not acceptable.

    1. What kind of care can we offer another when we are overwhelmed? When we are overwhelmed our body is in a state of panic, it’s in a very jangled state and more often than not with a feeling of exhaustion as it’s base. Consider for a moment how it would feel to be cared for someone who is overwhelmed, I’d feel compelled to get out of bed and help them!

  7. Naturally we all have so much love and care inside us, its only when we don’t look after ourselves that this natural ability can become false or pushed.

  8. Love Elizabeth how you debase the illusion of care – too many people hide in martyrdom in the pretence they are doing well when if in fact we are not looking after ourselves no one is truly benefiting.

  9. I can feel how my approach is to still place what’s outside of me, people, pets, projects, ahead of my own care. It’s not as severe or as obvious as it once was, but it’s still there. I feel for me as a child and adult there was a kind of high from doing something ‘good’, a temporary feeling I enjoyed, but the reality is it’s still an escape from the intense discomfort of not living connected to the essence of love within myself. Thanks Elizabeth, it’s great to have the opportunity to examine this again and feel honestly where I am at.

  10. “an inner joy, which is available for us all to connect to if we simply choose to turn our gaze from looking outside ourselves back to within.” Reconnecting to the love we naturally are within reminds us to care for the precious being we are.

  11. We have been so immensely conditioned to only look outside of oruselve that it takes effort to turn this around, look within and discover that all we ever looked for is there, within us, for the finding.

  12. When I was 11years old I used to walk my family friends twin babies in the park – that would be considered neglect today (which in itself shows how far we have lived from common sense and live in fear) I never needed to be told how much mothers needed support I knew it was needed and have always helped mums out. This is really missing in our world today I am not sure why. But true care as you share is always within first and then we really can support others.

    1. Reading your comment Vanessa, I realise how trustworthy, from a young age, we must have been to be allowed to take another woman’s baby for a walk and also how we knew we had to be responsible for the baby while it was in our care. This all came naturally to us to know where care and support was most needed.

  13. The true meaning of the word care has such a nurturing and warm quality to it. Very different to the version where it is just based on what is outside of us and much about putting everything else before the true care of ourselves.

    1. I agree chanly88. The true meaning of the word care comes from a self loving foundation which carries the vibration of understanding, compassion, spaciousness and unconditional love. A very different meaning from what I once erroneously thought, care to be!.

    2. Spot on Chanly88, there is the superficial version of self care to tick a box and say you have done it, versus the true element of self care based on what your body is actually calling for at that moment in time.

  14. What I’m discovering is that there is no short cut to self-care.. we can’t override our bodies all week long and then hope to mop up the damage with a haircut or a massage. Self-care is a moment to moment thing – making every moment about deeply listening to and honouring our bodies and what we feel and know to be true.

  15. I have been deeply inspired by my niece and how much she naturally cares for her dolls, the wrapping them up in blankets and genuinely doing what she feels is need to nurture and love them. What I have really appreciated is that deep level of care can be first shared with ourselves and then we have so much more we can offer others.

    1. I am finding this too Leigh, the more I self-care the more openings appear for me to deepen, expand and commit to, things that I never considered previously as self-care, such as reading the energy which is passing through me and also that which is passing through others.

  16. What if there is a version of care that is designed to keep people happy, or to give us a role so we are not seen for who we are? I am sure this is the kind of care that I have offered people, something that I offered so I got something out of it. This game is needed when there is no real care for ourselves. The definition of care changes completely when you start to care for yourself.

    1. I was just pondering on this before I read your comment Fiona. How often do we offer care so we can get something out of it or to gain recognition? I have done this many times before and now understanding what true care is, I no longer fall for the false version so easily.

    2. Fiona it is a good point that the drive to care for others can be avoiding living transparently and sharing all of who we are. We can instead hide ourselves in a role and enjoy feeling how ‘good’ we are by settling for the recognition of what we do. It’s understandable because the world as it is does not really meet people in their essence, and we are not nurtured to live in the fullness of ourselves.

    3. Wow this is exposing Fiona…. and has me pondering on how much of this I have fallen for in my life with seeking to care for others as a means to not be seen for all of who I am and thus used this as a form of ‘protection’…

  17. I agree Elizabeth, true care always starts with ourselves first, ‘Yes, I was born to care, but in order for it to be true care it must be from self-love and self-care first, then everything else will fall into place.’

  18. What a beautiful confirmation of the ‘recipe’ that brings true quality to life. Awesome article Elizabeth.
    “Yes, I was born to care, but in order for it to be true care it must be from self-love and self-care first, then everything else will fall into place”.

  19. It makes so much sense to me that to truly care and love others it is essential that I care and love myself and make this way of being a foundation in my day. Without self-care and self-love I can become dependent on those around me and get swayed by the outside world to determine my state of being.

    1. It’s like self-care and self-love are vital stepping-stones or actions that assist us to be love in what we do and express…

      1. Absolutely Fiona, you can’t get to love without going through self-care and self-love first, it’s simply not possible, they are, as you so rightly say, stepping stones.

  20. Caring as a man has also taken a whole new dimension since I ran into Universal Medicine. I only started to understand how much care I needed, when I start to feel how sensitive and delicate my body actually is.

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