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Student Life Spotlight: Barbara Barnhart on self care

11.01.2016 | By:
Staff Spotlight Series

I find that I am often the “yes” person. Whenever someone needs something done, needs help tackling a task, a shoulder to cry on, a ride to some place or another; I am the person who almost always says "yes." Helping others and being selfless are values I hold dearly and actions I follow closely.

However, always being the helping hand or “yes person” can leave your emotional tank empty. You spend all your time on others or tasks focused on what you believe is the greater good. This can often result in little personal time and negatively impact one's ability to unwind.

I had a mentor who once explained it to me this way: "We all have a vase that is filled with sand. The vase is you and the sand represents all of your personal resources; time, energy, emotional capacity, values, etc. We spend our lives, pouring our sand into other peoples’ vases. Helping to fill them up; with happiness, joy, care and shared moments."

If we are not careful, we can forget to make sure to fill our own vase. We sometimes forget to surround ourselves with people who will, in turn, fill our vases. We might overlook making time for ourselves and doing what brings us joy and personal fulfillment.

I will never forget the moment my mentor asked me who was filling my vase. I racked my brain for all of the relationships I had, the experiences I was participating in, who I was sharing my life with. As my family’s primary caregiver and a constant “yes person," I found my answer being “no one." I knew that caring for others gave me a strong sense of fulfillment, but I had failed to realize I was pouring out more sand than I was getting in.

Remember, you can only continue to fill others vases for as long as you have sand in your own.