I realize more and more each day. Many people suffer from a number of issues, but do not make time for true self care. We are all dealing with many circumstances (past and present) that often leave us feeling hopeless, fearful and a range of emotions that are uncomfortable. Many seek positive ways to cope; counseling, meditation, praying, yoga, exercise, writing, etc. Others may deal with the feelings in more destructive ways; drugs, alcohol, abusing others or a host of other excessive negative behaviors. At the end of the day we are all seeking relief from uneasy feelings based on our life experiences.
As I evaluate some of the relationships I have with others... I am able to better understand that we all cope in different ways. There are strained relationships of all sorts; and all seem to originate from a strained personal relationship with self. We have to love, trust and forgive self in order to have healthy and balanced relationships with others. We must be self aware, self assured and self confident... yet few appear to be.
I think there is a reason people seek the advice of those who have managed to get to a better place with who they are. The so called self-help gurus are seemingly the ones who have gone through feelings of doubt, shame, heartache and sorrow... and come out on the other side of those feelings. Many have walked through the darkness and found light. It is understandable that others want their help and need guidance on how to do the same. But I think no matter what, the advice given will relate to taking care of self first... loving yourself first. Loving yourself enough to stop self destructive behavior or allowing the destructive ways of others to influence how we feel about self.
We have to take care of self before we can be in any condition to take care of others. It takes time to build yourself up to being a whole person... but many do not take that time to do so. More often than not, instead of taking care of self... we think that taking care of someone else will make us feel better. I am guilty of that for sure. I guess it is only human nature to want to take care of others as a way of feeling important, needed, desired, etc. I can contribute that to the demise of many relationships (of all sorts), both for myself and others around me. We are all seeking and expecting things from others... that we should be seeking and expecting from self. If we are neglecting self, then why be upset when others do the same.
We have to develop a healthy and balanced relationship with self before seeking or expecting anything from others. We have to stop expecting others to provide us with something that we can and should provide our self with. We must fill self with love, hope, joy and happiness first... and place less expectations/pressure on those around us... and in the process also attract those who understand and practice self care. Surround yourself with people who practice self care. Nurture relationships with those who practice self care. Love yourself enough to eliminate people and things that do not contribute to or encourage your self care.
It is sad to report that I do not know very many people who make true self care a priority. I say true self care because many are practicing what they think is self care... but it is not what it appears to be. Many things appear to be self care, however are only making matters worse because the the true issues are not being addressed... just disguised.
Lately I have been reflecting on what I do to care for my own well being first. Not in a selfish or self centered kind of way... but in a self preserving, self respect and self love kind of way. I have to ensure I preserve my own physical, financial, mental, emotional and spiritual well being before I can do the same for anyone else. I have to limit and/or totally eliminate any threat to my well being in these areas. It takes a conscious effort to practice self care, and it may mean practicing tough love with those around you.
Through my personal reflection on self care, I am learning that it is difficult to maintain a healthy relationship with myself at all times. There are times when I do not like or love myself. But I care enough about myself to not sit in those feelings. When I feel that way I have to be conscious enough to recognize where those feelings are coming from. I have to first seek my own counsel with regards to what I am dealing with. I cannot expect anybody to understand or help me with something that I am not willing or able to understand. I have to understand what causes me to feel hopeless or fearful... and love myself enough to not let those feelings lead to self destructive actions. It is essential that I understand self and know what causes those feelings... and what self care techniques I can practice to lessen or eliminate those feelings.
Reminder: Self care should always come first, but don’t let this lead you to thinking that self-care is “selfish”.
Here are a few self care quotes I am trying to make a part of my daily thinking as I focus on self care:
Self-care is how you take your power back.
– Lalah Delia
The only person who can pull me down is myself, and I’m not going to let myself pull me down anymore.
– C. JoyBell C.
When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.
– Jean Shinoda Bolen
How do you define ‘taking care of yourself’? Create a new self-care practice today. Observe your comfort level when it comes to being good to yourself. Discomfort is a wise teacher.
– Caroline Myss and Peter Occhiogrosso