The first stirrings of spring are just around the corner. This time of year if I don't have a lot of definite plans and things to look forward to I tend to go into a dark head space. The days are longer, but the light is thin. Still it is a time of beginnings. Beginnings are tricky things.
Currently I find myself pulled in many directions by competing needs. This year I've started to count my own needs among those that should direct me. There are those that harp on putting yourself first and at times they are right, but all our actions have an effect on others. To not consider how our actions affect the people around us is to cross into self absorption and sociopathy. After that comes the cackling and gingerbread houses. Sooner or later somebody is going to get pushed into an oven, and then the property value in the whole neighborhood drops.
The balance of personal needs and obligations is the crucible for many of us. Often there just isn't enough of us to go around without being drained completely. It can be easy to go to the extreme ends either only looking after yourself and your interests or only taking care of the needs of others. Both of these are recipes for an incomplete life.
I spent years running around after everyone making sure they were alright, never handling my own issues. A few years back, I hit the ultimate end of the spectrum and like a rubber band I snapped back hard to the other extreme. It's not that I don't want to help people, but I am hyper aware of extending myself. It's made me stop offering assistance much, and I do worry that I have gone too far in the cackling direction. It's not easy standing at the fulcrum point. People will push you, beg you, threaten you, or guilt you. This isn't a problem if you are certain of yourself, but how many of us are really secure in ourselves. Most of our programming/culture is centered around us not being good enough.
So how about you? Are you feeling pulled in every direction but your own? Are you indifferent to others, or are you too entangled? We all fall somewhere on this spectrum. If you're a person who is empowered by giving and service well then service away. Do it as long as it feeds your soul. If large acts of service aren't your style then just tend to your interactions with the people around you. There is no right or wrong here, only what is right and wrong for you. You must find your individual balance point between service and self. Try not to compare yourself with others, and just be you. No one else can do it for you.
Peace and Blessings,