‘Instead of filling up my own car, I decided to do something nice and fill theirs up first. But when I went to put gas into my tank, there wasn’t anything left.’

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“Last night I dreamed I was standing at the local Chevron station, ready to fill up my white GMC, nozzle in hand, when somebody pulled up to the slot in front of me.

Instead of going ahead and filling up my own car, I decided to do something nice and fill theirs up first. So I took my nozzle, filled up their tank until the machine made that little clicking sound, and waved goodbye with a smile and a nod. It seemed nice. It seemed like a good thing to do. It seemed like the right thing to do.

But when I went to put gas into my own tank, there wasn’t anything left to pump. No gas. Not a drop. Not even fumes. And so my car sat there. And so I sat there, with my kids crying in the backseat, on the cold pavement: sad, guilty, annoyed, and alone. I had no way to get us home. I had no way to get us anywhere.

I felt so alone and so helpless. I felt like I had failed, like I had failed my family. How could I let this happen?

Ladies, it’s great to give. It’s good to give. It’s right to give. We should be all about the helping and the supporting and the going out of our way to lift each other up.

But we can’t give so much that there’s nothing left.

We can’t give until the tank is empty. We can’t expect to function on fumes. We can’t put off filling up our own souls until we’re already hurting, until we’re already struggling, until we’re already broken down. It doesn’t help us. It doesn’t help our family. It doesn’t help anyone.

A run-down, run-out, burnt-out car can’t do much.

Pause and do something every day that keeps your car running smoothly, efficiently, and happily. Read a book. Take a bath. Go on a girls night. Hide in your closet. Meditate. Pray. See a counselor. Hire a babysitter for an hour and eat fast food in your car with the music blaring. Listen to music. Dance to Snoop Dogg in your car. Heck, just pee alone once a day for crying out loud. Do one things that soothes your soul and heals your heart and quiets your crazy mind.

It’s not selfish. It’s necessary.

Take the time to make your own tank happy, and you’ll have more good, more love, more energy to keep you going; and more gas to keep giving to those around you.”

Amy Weatherly

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Amy Weatherly. The article originally appeared here. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

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