She spent so much time giving and nurturing, intuitively knowing others’ feelings and
needs. She attended without thinking, without prompting, without needing to be asked. Giving
was receiving. It was a gift, a talent she possessed. It was who she was.

She began having small twinges of inner pain, an emptiness that hurt. What is this? What does
it mean? What is necessary to care for and nurture this discomfort? She shrugged her shoulders
and carried on with what was set out in front of her. Unknowingly, she gave more, got less,
and all the while she thought she was filling and nurturing this discomfort deep within herself.

The twinges began to grow larger, the emptiness deeper, it opened up to a great dark abyss.
It hurt more and becoming increasingly difficult to shrug off and march on. An inner voice
said, “You need to take care of yourself.” But instead, she gave more and more,
without being selective, depleting her energies. She was unconscious and unaware, doing only
what she knew so well. She had no plan, no direction for herself. “Go where you are needed,
huddle them all in close, and make sure everyone is feeling good, well cared for.” Some
of them demanded from her, others expected, and some were just there. She continued to nourish
others, dispensing her last drop. The good feelings she had felt through this endless nurturing
did not last as long, they were not as fulfilling. She became tired, a tiredness that was bone
deep. A tiredness that sleep could not quench. She did not understand, she was dancing as fast
as she could. Why was this not working as well as it had been?

She had inner conflict, mixed feelings, messages and thoughts. Some said, give to your parents,
give to your friends, and take care of those you love. If you see a need, take care of it.
But she was empty. She did not know who she was. Worst of all, she did not know where others
ended and she began. Others said, “Take care of yourself, be good to yourself, and ask
for what you need.” She had no idea what that meant. Take care of yourself; she did this
by taking care of others. Be good to yourself; how selfish. Ask for what you need; never, if
others do not give to you freely it is not authentic, they do not want to, and you are not
worthy.

But a day came when she heard the voice of inner wisdom: “Take care of yourself like
you take care of others. Tell yourself you are an important, worthwhile person who deserves
to be cared for and nurtured. Be as kind and loving to yourself as you are to others. Nurture
the nurturer.” This would be her only way out of the lonely and destructive place where
she was quietly dying from the outside-in.