Why self care is critical

I was watching Joe vs the Volcano over their weekend, which happens to be one of my favorite movies of all time. I’ve seen it so many times and love to pull it out if I’m sick, or have insomnia. Needless to say, I know this movie very well. But something stood out to me this time that I hadn’t thought about before. 

You know the scene where Joe sees the huge moon rise over the water? He prays to the “god, whose name I do not know” and finds himself so thankful for life. Remember? Yeah, that wasn’t the scene, sorry, but do you remember the one after it? He collapses at the end of his moon prayer and is awoken the following day by Patricia who is trying to get him to drink water. 

See Joe has spent days slowly pouring water into Patricia’s mouth as she is unconscious from a concussion. So he refused water of his own, ensuring that all his resources went to her. Even as he wakes up to her and she asks didn’t he drink any water he says, no it’s for you. Every other time I watched the movie this scene had its desired effect on me of “how cute, they’re in love!” Because they are thinking only of taking care of the other. But this time something occurred to me. What if she was still a day away from waking?

He was nursing her back to health, and refusing his life sustaining water. What if he had almost gotten her better, but not quite, and then collapsed of dehydration? He would not have been able to get up after that. And if she wasn’t quite healthy enough to wake in time, then her health would have begun to deteriorate again. So essentially both of them would have ended up dying from dehydration.

Granted this is a movie. If their love can have a volcano shoot them to safety (spoiler alert) then of course they can mysteriously awaken when the other needs them. But the point is valid. There are times that we give up so much for ourselves to give everything to another, that we put our health at risk. And how can we possibly continue to push through and give to the other person if we collapse from the exhaustion of not helping ourself even a little?

We need to ensure we make time for self care. Self care is what gives us the strength to keep going. It is safer for everyone you love if you ensure you are healthy before trying to help them. It gives you more strength and endurance, more patience, joy, and comfort. Don’t forget that you have to take care of you if you want to take care of another.

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