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Manage one self before giving to others

Firefighters took a defensive posture with a fire Monday afternoon in the 400 block of North Jackson Street. Fire Chief James Craswell says the building is a loss. No injuries have been reported. (July 9, 2012)

Firefighters took a defensive posture with a fire Monday afternoon in the 400 block of North Jackson Street. Fire Chief James Craswell says the building is a loss. No injuries have been reported. (July 9, 2012)

If when you go to withdraw money from your bank account and receive an “insufficient funds” message, the immediate presumption is that you have not done a good job of managing your account.

Whether a matter of overspending or one of repeated withdrawals without having made any deposits, the outcome is the same: your funds have been depleted.

When this is the case, you cannot spend or withdraw that which you no longer have available. It is the old “nothing in, nothing out” adage. It seems simple enough, but when we begin talking about our “self-banks”, the logic seems to fall apart for many of us.

Are you overextending yourself to take care of everything and everyone else without checking in with yourself at all?

The process works exactly the same for your self-bank as it does for your financial bank in that when there is a failure to balance your self-account, (saying no sometimes, setting aside personal time for yourself, encouraging yourself, loving yourself), then, it too is subject to being overdrawn.

Your self-bank account comes with built-in, but optional overdraft protection. Although it is within each of us, we have to choose to use it. It is not designed to transfer more energy, more time, more of you from some other account to cover those times when you have agreed to head one too many committees, to keep your neighbors’ children one day too long, or to cover your co-worker’s shift one time too many. Instead, the overdraft protection within is in place to prevent you from even getting to that point.

Sometimes it is about our willingness to take on more than what is reasonable to handle mentally or emotionally more so than physically. However, at other times, it is about our willingness to allow those around us to make repeated withdrawals from our self-account without any limits, literally rendering ourselves depleted.

I know it is just because of our big hearts, but when we are not careful to pay ourselves first, we will begin to feel stressed or even resentful for having been stretched so thin.

We have to raise our expectations of the people in our lives to whom we give so much of ourselves. They have to make deposits into your self-bank account too.

Are the people in your life putting back those things you so freely give, or are they robbing you blind? Think about it.

I think that many of us are governed by the notion that it is better to give than to receive, while, ironically, giving to a point of emotional and spiritual exhaustion. With everything there has to be balance and you owe it to yourself to manage your self-bank account. Don’t you know that “you” don’t grow on trees?

Be encouraged.

Contact columnist LaTonya Dunn at ln_dunn@yahoo.com.