[Image description: There is an orange-brown background, and toward the right side of the image, there is a circle of symbols of people made from paper. They are holding hands in the circle, and a light is shining in the middle of the circle.]
Sometimes, we have a zero-sum mindset about rest, care, and personal growth.
We feel anxious or guilty about prioritizing rest, care, and personal growth because somewhere deep down inside us, we believe… if we choose to prioritize these for ourselves… deliberately receiving from others, setting up daily rhythms of personal care practices, or engaging extended periods of intentional, internal work… we believe… we are somehow taking from others.
Some of us have also been socialized to view care in these ways.
I’m not talking about falling off the grid entirely (though by all means, it’s helpful to do this temporarily here and there). I just want to make a claim that rest, care, and personal growth are not necessarily selfish, which is something we can easily fear or feel guilty about. This zero-sum mindset easily creeps in amidst parenting, pastoring, organizing, and caregiving.
We, ourselves, are intrinsically worth rest, care, and personal growth. We matter.
But also, when we keep our connections with others in mind, this is not a zero-sum situation — our rest, care, and personal growth is always embedded in relationships. It is always for the benefit of the community. We are refreshed and energized. We bring our fuller selves to our relationships, roles, and work. And when our rest, care, and personal growth stay in contact and connection with others, we pay attention to the systemic forces which make it much more challenging for some to experience those extended times of rest, care, and personal growth. Our care becomes more intentional here, and respecting people’s agency, we practice care outwardly, prioritizing others also. We take care of each other. We cultivate care spaces in mutuality together.
I wonder why we think these are divided from one another — personal healing and receiving versus community care work. As if we can only do one or the other.
After all, who’s to say they aren’t absolutely connected?
Who’s to say that healing doesn’t heal?