I say that trials and tests locate a person. In other words, they determine where you are spiritually. They reveal the true condition of your heart. How you react under pressure is how the real you reacts. ~ John Bevere
Our motivation to pay attention to the needs of others comes from those same needs inside of ourselves. There are those among us who seem to be naturally called to help others, and their nurturing attitude from earliest childhood days reflects a selflessness that is awe inspiring. These caregivers don't seem to have needs of their own and their time and effort all goes to helping, rescuing and healing others' needs, however these caregiver needs should not be ignored.
It's silly to think this kind of caregiver, regardless of his or her virtue, can completely sustain this type of giving lifestyle without some comforting from their friends and family, but they do continue giving. Many of that type of individual have needs that are unmet for their own health, pain, or nurturing. In their decision to "be strong," their own needs remain beneath the surface unattended to.
So frequently, the motivating factor in these generous individuals can be linked to a deep passion to heal their own wounds; to receive the type of love and attention they so generously give to others on a regular basis. They find it challenging and difficult to permit themselves to receive love and comforting, so they give it to others to act out their own needs. I think that while they continue giving to others - and it's a great good they accomplish - they must also consider turning some of their phenomenal strengths and love inside and foster caring for their own needs.
So often, folks who live in the "I am going to rescue and serve you" model get stuck thinking this is the only way their lives can exist. Frequently, they don't enjoy the peace that comes from within nor do they focus on their own personal growth because they are so involved solving the crisis of others. Unless these generous caregivers turn the spotlight of their nurturing upon themselves, they will continue to be magnetized by the needs of others. And sadly, they could be so caught up in this role that they actually enable those needy people and keep them weakened because they're not even trying to solve their own problems.
Once these people discover that they have caregiver needs, then they discover the strength to turn within and face the needy aspects of their own mentality, he or she can become a model of empowerment and a true source of healing in the world.
Are you one of these wonderfully helpful and loving individuals? Does the rescuer in you need rescuing himself or herself? Are you burning out from inside due to your excessive giving? Can you admit to having a long list of needs yourself? Is there help for caregivers?
A gentle word of wisdom: there is no one out there with a list of needs where your name is at the top. You will have to create it yourself and then turn your wonderful talents to fulfilling your own needs. This might mean not being quite so strong - perhaps even being vulnerable and admitting you hurt, too. St. Paul says: When I am weak, then am I strong.
You might feel some resentment that those around you cannot see your caregiver needs as you can see them in others. You'll get help when you admit you need it; when you know you're as human as the rest of us and that you are in pain. And the wholeness of your having helped and having admitted to your own needs will inspire others to be as honest as you are. I wish you well. I think you're going to be surprised and delighted at the assistance that can come your way when you invite it in.