Self sacrifice is an essential part of our spirituality as Catholics. We are called to love others as Christ loves us. This often takes the form of denying ourselves in order to serve another with beautiful acts of love and humility. But what happens when we get burnt out? Do we keep pushing and ignore the warning signs that we’re depleted? It’s so easy to find ourselves begrudgingly following this call with distress in our hearts. ⁣

Taking a moment to reflect on Christ’s words can provide us with some clarity: “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” (Matthew 22:39). There is an assumption within this command that we are already loving ourselves and should be extending that love and care to our neighbors. If this love of self was not good, it would not be used as a reference for how to love our neighbor. This makes sense because if we are mistreating ourselves, how are we supposed to love others? By honoring and respecting our own needs, we can more freely give to others. When we treat ourselves with dignity, we can see the dignity in others. On the other hand, studies have consistently shown that helping others has a positive on how we feel about ourselves. Selflessness and self care are actually reciprocal, feeding into each other.

Caring for ourselves can take many forms but here are a few healthy ones that come to mind: regular prayer life/reception of sacraments, good sleep, proper nutrition/exercise, seeking emotional support, good boundaries, and relaxation. A little bit can go a long way. Remember, you’re valuable too!

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* The information provided is for self-enrichment and not intended to replace any necessary mental health treatment.⁣


Jonathan Dixon, LMFT
Alpha Omega Team