Take Care of the Gold Miner
In my last blog I talked about the difference between the fantastic work you do, and the person you are. It was put so nicely (but too late for my blog) by a judge in a documentary I saw: “Someone once told me, ‘You have an important job….you are not an important person.’” However, while that may be a great way to focus on the work and not your own ego, you are an important person to your friends and family.
Because the other side of this coin is that after you mine “the gold,” you have to take care of yourself. Some of us are very good at taking care of our work, and are utter failures at taking care of ourselves. If we are not the gold we mine, nevertheless we are valuable and should treat ourselves with respect and kindness.
Speaking personally, I take very good care of my work. No matter how important or unimportant I think something I’ve written may be, I have a safe place for it to go. I catalogue everything so I can preserve it, find it, and share it as need be.
Contrast that with the way I sometimes treat myself. I don’t always keep myself safe or preserve myself. I don’t always put myself in a place where I belong, or where I can share.
I expend tremendous amounts of energy taking care of my work. I really love my work. What would it take to love myself as much?
I am the person who mines the gold. Without my work, something is missing that only I can bring. Doesn’t that make me worth the same amount of trouble I spend on the work?
Sometimes I spend myself, like you’d spend money you don’t have, staying up late into the night, knowing that I should be sleeping. And I’m not even spending it on something valuable. I’m just wasting time, not going to bed because I don’t want to end the day, or start the next one.
Maybe I, maybe we, take such good care of our work because it’s easier to love our work than ourselves. Our work can be polished, put into context, shared at the right time. We, on the other hand, have to be flawed, partial, human.
It’s harder to take care of ourselves. Much, much harder.
But if we have the skills to manage our work, and we do it well, then there’s hope for us. We can begin to think about how to use our skills on ourselves. And if we can’t make the transfer, then we can at least admit that it’s something we need to learn.