...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Where Are Your Pieces of Flair?

"I don't like talking about my flair." That's a great line spoken by Peter's girl friend in the movie, Office Space. While waiting tables, her manager required her to wear at least "15 pieces of flair" (nonsensical buttons and badges like the folks do at TGI Fridays). Once she started wearing her "flair," she was again singled out by the nit- picky manager, this time because she was only wearing the "bare minimum."

Here are some suggestions for coexisting with demanding personalities. One, have compassion and pray for him or her. Two, get an accountability group of a couple of others who can keep confidentiality. Three, seek the care of a trained or skilled listener, counselor, or spiritual friend. Four, physically care for yourself with appropriate sleep, diet and exercise. Five, do your job better than anyone else!

PLEASE note: If you are in the caring professions, you do not have the option to not care for yourself. The question, "Who cares for you and who listens to you?" is not rhetorical. You cannot afford to be offering to others what you have not sought out for yourself. And neither can those who depend on your care.

These folks who nag about our flair are usually unhappy with themselves, not just with your fewer buttons. And those who always demand that we try to be something that we are not can never be pleased because they are not pleased with themselves. Go with the "flair" God has given you within, the gifts with which you are uniquely equipped. Remember who you are in waters of your baptism, a beloved child of God. And do not be put to shame.

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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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If you want a formula for making the best of the less-than-perfect and making the most of what you have been given, then begin to compare your lot to what you were before you were born, and it will empower you with wonder every time. John Claypool

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