I think of my well-being as knowing what it takes to feel rightside up with the world, where my thoughts, feelings and beliefs are accessible to me and I can express them without anxiety. It means ensuring that the space I live in is one that supports that self-expression. It means living a life where I'm not lying or hiding for self-protection. It means not depending on someone else to create that space for me, nor spending my energy trying to ensure that space for someone else.Wanted to put it up here to remind myself when I forget, or when it seems more reasonable to just set it aside for the sake of everyone else.
I contend that we aren't really giving of ourselves when we set aside our well-being for someone else. We're protecting ourselves from pain (the painful realization that we aren't needed or don't match someone else's expectations or can't bring happiness or to cover our own feelings of dislocation and not belonging). We aren't protecting ourselves from mistreatment or abuse, either, since love never covers that multitude of sins. Only good fences and a fierce loyalty to your well-being can stop the force of control and anger aimed at you.
Truth is, you can only give if there's something in the tank to give away. If you go into debt to yourself, some day your soul will come to collect. "You can't cheat the dark gods." The price can be high, depending how deep the debt. You wouldn't go into debt to give to a charity, and so you shouldn't go into soul debt in order to love others.
If we safeguard our well-being, gently protecting it like you would your grandmother's nicest china dessert dish, you'll be able to give to others because your spirit will be in good shape, ready and able to be the platter from which love is served. I didn't know this, for my whole life. So I'm way in debt. I'm paying it off slowly now, looking at overdue bills and figuring out how to settle accounts with myself.