We know that organizations have an obligation to care for their human employees. Now, let’s talk about the personal responsibility involved in honouring our humanity as helping professionals. How much maintenance do we need as human beings?
How many of you know someone who consistently works through lunch breaks, brings paperwork home at night, or refuses to engage in social interaction in the office because there is too much to do? I can tell you, not only do I know these people; I have been this person many times in my life. The person who feels most in control when there is a list of tasks that can be checked off at the end of the day.
Task vs. Process.
I thought that if I completed my list of things to do, I would have a sense of satisfaction when I left work. And, in some ways, I did feel satisfied as we often do when we accomplish our goals. Satisfied, yes. Fulfilled, not so much.
Personal Maintenance. Is it just about Surviving?
I realized that I had been treating myself like a machine without the same level of respect I would give to my car. I expected myself to do, do, do and to keep going no matter what.
For a period of time, I was highly committed to a rigorous work out and nutritional plan, journaling, and meditating. This was my holistic Personal Maintenance plan.
I realized many of the expected rewards from these activities, but I also became aware after awhile, that my main motivation for engaging in these healthy activities was rooted in my desire to keep up with my many obligations at the time.
I had a fear that I was not good enough and if I could only perfect myself, I would find peace and joy – a faulty belief system that initially played out in an obsessive hula hooping experiment in my basement when I was just a girl. This becomes a journey without a destination. We will never get “there.” So, it helped me survive – even thrive for a while… but it wasn’t sustainable.
Care For Yourself Because You are Worth it!
Self-care is not a means to an end. It is not about increased productivity, but rather an expression of self-love. Let me tell you something. You do not need to fix yourself. There is nothing about you that needs improvement. Use your Personal Maintenance plan as a way to grow into and express your inherent divine perfection.
The Power of Human Connection
When you become willing to embrace all parts of yourself – including the parts you might be tempted to hide, you will start to recognize what you really desire in your life. You will start to realize how you want to contribute in your career from a place of personal excitement. You will start to see themes across your personal and professional life – you will notice the connections. And as you align within yourself, you will start to feel free!
My career in human services and adult education has provided so many opportunities for this kind of deep exploration. I can’t think of another vocation where celebrating humanity could be more important. Human beings working with other human beings to provide services to human beings. If you cannot honour your own humanity, how can you ever honour humanity in others?
You can graduate at the top of your class, land a leadership position in your agency, quote extensively from academic journals, and be a rolodex for your local community resources – all of this is admirable and useful. But, I can guarantee that the people who come to you for service will reap the most benefits when you meet them from that genuine and sincere place inside your heart – when you show them your humanity.
Who are you at the core of your humanity? How do you care for your humanity, and how do you express this in your work and interactions with others?
Elizabeth Bishop is the creator of the Conscious Service Approach designed to support helping professionals to reconnect with and fulfill their desire to make a difference in the lives of those they support. Following the completion of a diploma in Developmental Services and a degree in Psychology and Religious Studies, she completed a Masters in Adult Education through St. Francis Xavier University, providing the opportunity to test and refine the elements of the Conscious Service Approach. Elizabeth is the host of Serving Consciously, a new show on Contact Talk Radio. Simply tune in to www.ctrnetwork.com and click Listen Live at 12pm PST every 2nd and 4th Friday.