You have given all that you can give. And, after you have done that, you have given some more.
You are the only one who can help.
Taking care of people comes naturally to you.
Your reaction to helping someone in need is more familiar to you than brushing your teeth.
No matter what the task is, you get the job done.
You roll up your sleeves, take a deep breath, and you get the job done.
No one sees or cares to see the tears that blur your eyes.
No one sees your hands shaking as you attempt to close an open wound or wash the body of a loved one who once cradled you in their arms.
You have seen things, and you have smelled things that would send others running from a room covering their mouths
You get the job done.
You've been programmed to answer every call.
Your ears, your eyes, your whole being has been finely tuned for this purpose.
Somewhere along the line, you told yourself a story.
You told yourself you had to stop living to be in the service of others.
You told yourself that your life, your dreams, your joy, and your health didn’t matter because your purpose was to serve others.
You believed that your life had to stop so that you could take care of someone else.
You allowed yourself to become intertwined with a contract that wasn't yours to fulfill.
Stop. Take a step back.
The shadow of the caregiver emerges when your pure goodwill is taken advantage of time and time again. When you feel like someone's slave, when you feel inadequate, even when it is clear as day that you aren't, that is your shadow sounding the alarm.
When these feelings arise do you continue to show up for others, or do you take a step back and spend time with your shadow?
What does the shadow want?
Why is it showing up?
The shadow isn't a bad thing or something to fear. The appearance of the shadow is like the flashing lights on an ambulance. Finally, someone has shown up to take care of you.
The shadow is where the healing takes place. Doing the work of integrating your shadow teaches you how to say that beautiful word: No. You learn how to recognize when you are being taken advantage of and end relationships that are not reciprocal. The shadow teaches you how to sit and be still. You learn how to nurture yourself.
You learn how to take care of others without compromising your well-being. You remember that some people were living and breathing before you entered their lives, and they will continue to do so after you leave.