“In the different voice of women lies the truth of an ethic of care, the tie between relationship and responsibility, and the origins of aggression in the failure of connection.” - Carol Gilligan
The voice of the flight attendant intoned the usual instructions about seats forward and tray tables in the upright and locked position. I tuned her out until she said, "Should the plane lose altitude suddenly oxygen masks will drop down..."
I thought, "Well, obviously, she will say put the mask on your baby first."
Of course, I would have been wrong. You put the mask on yourself first. You cannot help your baby if you are passed out.
Caregivers are terrible at self-care. Part of the reason is that they mistakenly think that caregiving means an unrelenting sacrifice of the self.
Noted women's rights authority Carol Gilligan warns that it is the relationship that leads to responsibility and the lack of it that leads to mistreatment. She describes a three-stage progression in caring.
We grow up paying attention first to our own needs. Second, caregivers look after others. Traditionally, female caregivers in this stage begin to forget self-care, wrongly believing that all of their energy must be committed to self-sacrifice rather then self-care.
The wisdom-informed third stage says otherwise. You must love and care for yourself before you can love another.
Love can only flow from love.