There are so many big-hearted people in my life that I see taking on other people’s burdens. I can spot them easily because I used to be one of them -- the person that absorbs the problems of another. I did this in the treatment room both physically and energetically when working on bodies, as well as in relationships, taking on the emotional burden of a friend or family member. I would not feel “okay” with myself until I believed their issue had been resolved. As a result, I rarely felt comfortable in my own skin.
Fast forward many years, I now know the difference between caring and carrying.
I have learned that I can care for an unlimited number of people, but I cannot carry more than myself in this world. This took a long time to truly understand. I felt a responsibility to help anyone I saw in pain. I learned from many experiences, however, that this was my ego craving attention. Being of service to others is a noble purpose, but only if they want your help and additionally, want to help themselves. Once I gained this perspective, I felt so much freedom within.
This perspective really helped me when it came to working on patients. There is a misconception that others can heal you. What we can be as therapists, are facilitators in another person’s journey toward healing. Without the individual owning the responsibility for their health, the results will be temporary and not complete.
I had many occasions where this was put into action. In the treatment room, I would do my best to unlock the fascia pattern that the individual presented, so as to create a better alignment for the joints to decrease wear and tear. This would in the moment promote improved blood flow to an area and potentially decrease or remove the pain signal at that time. This was super helpful, but for those who paid no service to changing their breath and alignment, the following week or weeks later, they would be right back in the treatment room, dealing with the same issues.
As I initially took on the carrying of another, I was often left frustrated, feeling as though I had failed them. Then I realized, other’s pain is not my burden to carry. This was a huge relief for me as it took away the feeling of being responsible for something that is not mine. This has led to an awakening of opportunity where I now feel I can expand my horizons to be of service, through the act of simply and authentically caring.
I remember the moment when I decided I would only treat people that practiced Block Therapy. This wasn’t to exclude anyone, but I was at the point in my practice where I could be selective with my client base. I knew I was extremely impactful at releasing fascia, but not nearly as impactful as gravity and the accumulation of the grooves that get created in the body from unconscious activity. Unless I saw someone multiple times over a short period to create an actual full body shift, the time between a week or 2 weeks until the next session would often result in the individual falling back into their previous pattern. Knowing that I will be there for those who choose to do the work has led to relationships with clients that are based on an understanding of what is appropriate as far as results are concerned.
Being a caregiver by nature is a beautiful thing. For the sensitive souls that are often drawn into the work of helping others, this can be extremely rewarding. However, if we don’t keep our boundaries and expectations realistic, we can move into failure mode at a rapid pace and that can take you down. If it does, you become the burden. Our mission as caregivers is to be the light – the example for others to follow. We can’t fix anyone; we can simply guide and be there to support, but we all must do the work to heal and repair whatever is our burden.
So, to all the “healers” out there, the world needs you to be the healthiest version of you. The world needs your compassion and forgiveness, guidance and light. It needs to know there are those of you who put the caring of others at the forefront of your life. To do this, you need to be the healthiest version of yourself.
It’s time to be selfish -- carry only what’s yours, so you have the capacity to care for many. A little bit of self-love goes a long way. Have compassion for yourself, forgive yourself and first and foremost -- love yourself!
Breathe & Believe,
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