Nancy is a active mom, wife and volunteer for her church. She enjoys helping others, and spends most of her time looking out for others’ needs. Whether that means she looks out for her kids, her husband, or her friends, she is always taking care of those she loves. She is respected in her church because she is someone they can depend. Nancy is always there to help, always bringing food to a new mother or visiting the sick with flowers. She doesn’t do it because it makes her look good. She does it because she would like to feel like she is fulfilling a purpose bigger than herself. At the end of the day, Nancy takes comfort in giving comfort to others. Sure, she sometimes feels a little undervalued, but that feeling is worth it if she left the day better than she found it.
Nancy’s behavior is the type of behavior that we would all want in a neighbor, caring. However, Nancy must understand that a consistent behavior of others before self, especially when it comes to healthcare, will crumble this idealistic life she has created.
Like moms often do, she puts her health choices last. She sees her mission (although she would never label it as this) in life is to help others. This is good for those around her, as she always seems to be there to help. When asked about her own health, she responds, “If I take care of others, I am sure one day if I ever need help, the favor will be returned.” The following statement may rattle some cages, especially if you can identify with Nancy:
This self-sacrificing behavior is detrimental to her health, and she does not realize this fundamental truth: If you do not take care of yourself, you can not take care of others.
Listen, if you are Nancy, you must care for your health first. Your number one priority is yourself. You MUST be healthy to truly help others be healthy as well. Step off the self-sacrifice pedestal and do something to make sure you are around for as many years as possible. Then and only then will you be able to decide what to do with those years.