In Aesop’s “The Goose and the Golden Egg,” a poor farmer visits the nest of his goose one day and finds a glittering golden egg. Though he suspects it is a trick, he decides to take it home. To his delight, he learns that the egg is actually pure gold.
Every morning, the farmer gathers one golden egg from the nest of the goose, and he soon becomes fabulously wealthy. However, he also grows greedy and impatient with the output of the goose. The farmer cuts open the goose, but he finds nothing.
The moral of this tale has a contemporary message. Some of us are like the farmer, and we are so consumed with getting our golden eggs that we sacrifice our physical, emotional, spiritual, social, and mental health on the altar of avarice. In our competitive pursuit for the world’s pleasures and treasures, we neglect or abuse our entire well-being.
Some of us are like the goose, and we have sacrificed ourselves for someone else’s emotional, physical, material, or spiritual well-being. We are so focused on the needs of others that we have neglected our own needs. We are constantly producing golden eggs by loving, giving, serving, helping, forgiving, sharing, supporting, managing, long-suffering, respecting, deferring, validating, and encouraging others as we ignore our own necessities.
Have you given out too many golden eggs? Do you tend to do more for others than you do for yourself? Are you more aware of how others feel than how you feel? Do you think you are giving too much of yourself? Do you think people are taking your kindness for weakness and taking advantage of you? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be a goose that is laying golden eggs and experiencing caregiver burnout.
Many people silently suffer from caregiver burnout. Caring for others can be an enormous burden and can drain a person spiritually, emotionally, psychologically, and physically. Caring for others can also lead to burnout. Caregiver burnout is a state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion. It can be experienced by people who care for chronically ill, addicted, disabled, elderly, or financially, socially, spiritually, and mentally challenged people.
A person who is burned out may feel anger, fatigue, stress, sadness, frustration, depression, guilt, dysphoria, irritability, anxiety, and bitterness. Burnout can rupture relationships, drain the soul, strain work performance, and foster a faith crisis. Some people lose interest in activities they used to enjoy, withdraw from loved ones, and feel blue, irritable, cynical, hopeless, or helpless. Many caring people resonate with the immortal words of Fannie Lou Hammer: “I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
If this is how you feel, you are the goose that lays the golden eggs—and it is time to keep your golden eggs and take care of yourself. You have sacrificed enough. It is time to love yourself spiritually, emotionally, physically, and intellectually. It is time to eat your dessert first!
Eat Your Dessert First was not written for self-centered, selfish hedonists who always take care of themselves. Instead, it was written for giving, sacrificial, compassionate people who care for others and inadvertently neglect themselves. It was written for religious and nonreligious people who feel used, abused and burned out. It was written for the people who need to learn how to care for themselves and enjoy their lives.
If you are suffering from burnout or compassion fatigue and need to learn to take better care of yourself, this book is for you. If you do more for others, neglect yourself, and want to live an abundant life with God, this book is for you.
You cannot love and care for others until you love and care for yourself. You cannot produce any more golden eggs if you do not keep some golden eggs for yourself. It is time to enjoy your life.
You are a child of God, made in the image of God, and worthy of divine and self-love. You must make yourself the top priority in your life and practice self-care by loving, laughing, learning, and eating your dessert first.