What does self-care truly mean though?
It took longer than I expected to write this blog because I really didn’t want to regurgitate just another post “the ten best steps to self-care”. This topic has been written about in so many different fashions that I wanted to dissect it, ingest it, digest it, well analyze it to death + that is exactly what I did. I was totally enlightened in the process. Even with years of self-help books + therapy. I am by no means an expert, I am just another work in progress.
Lets face it, especially as a mother, my goal is to teach this to my young daughter so that when she is my age ( #fortyandfabulous ) self-care comes so naturally to her that she doesn’t even need to know the term. How will she learn it? From me of course. Not just my words, or reading mom’s blog post, but watching every. single. move. I. make. period. Nope, no pressure there. Actually, this instills deep inspiration + drives me to take daring steps to change with love. So, there is that!
So, if you have read or talked with anyone about self-care you may have discovered that there are many opinions about what it actually means to literally take care of oneself. We believe it is such a hot topic these days because more moms are working inside +/or outside the home along with running a household. We are for lack of a better word- busy. It is a loaded question because it may differ from one individual to another. But does it really?
There are tons of people telling us self-care equals getting our nails done, hair done, buy that certain something, clean our closet + the list goes on. So basically taking time for you. I mean that’s what I immediately thought of when I heard that term. It meant making time to get that mani / pedi. ( which I never miss )
After really looking into this subject ( which I did believe I was pretty good at btw ), I found a whole new level of thinking. Like a mind blown moment. While I still do believe it is all those things mentioned above and taking time for ourselves, it all stems from something much deeper.
First off, if we don’t love ourselves enough we won’t attempt much self-care. Or maybe we will choose the wrong type of self-care. When I say wrong type I mean something that doesn’t really bring long term joy but more instant gratification. What I want when I choose any type of self-care is to enhance my soul, to love myself a little more, therefore be a better me. Because sadly, making time to take a nap or get our nails done may not really bring long term joy, if we aren’t really trying to mold ourselves through self-love.
So what is my daughter seeing overtime that will plant the “self-care/ self-love” seed? I started to run a list in my head. This list stems from the research + ideals that resinated within me.
Stop Trying To fix Ourselves
Now, I didn’t say change ourselves, I said fix ourselves. There is a difference even if it is in the wording itself. Setting goals , attaining goals, + loving ourselves enough to want to grow and evolve is a wonderful thing. Striving to become the person we know we want + are meant to be is a brave endeavor. But, dwelling on our flaws + talking down to ourselves on the road to our dreams is not ok. Self-care means loving myself through the set backs. It means being the hero of my life, not the victim. It means recognizing the bad day + stopping to take care of myself to keep me joyful on a not so joyful day. See why just getting our hair done may not be enough? Self-care is the awareness that, though I am having a bad day, I am still awesomesauce + reiterating to myself that being human is A-OK. So, self-care is learning how to stop trying to “fix yourself” + start trying to take care of yourself, + maybe finding that taking care lovingly attends to a lot of the problems you were trying to fix in the first place. Remember my daughter is watching + listening!
An Attitude Of Gratitude
It is the appreciation for all that we have… or don’t have, all that we are… or aren’t, + basically just life in general. Having a deep appreciation for the good, the bad, + the ugly of life. It is hard to be unhappy when we feel such a sense of thankfulness throughout our days. The foundation of true gratitude helps us have compassion + patience for others. It gets us out of us and helps us think of others. So if gratitude doesn’t come naturally than self-care could mean helping someone else in need. Getting out of our own way to see others in a new light. Maybe that annoying neighbor or that mind numbing co-worker. When we have compassion we lose some of that irritability that blocks us from pure joy. We will never have everything we want in life + feeling truly grateful helps us have acceptance of that fact. I believe, we become more resourceful when we see our problems through gracious eyes. Isn’t that how we want our children to live? Remember my Julia is watching!
Get Comfortable With Your Courage
If courage is uncomfortable than get ready to get really uncomfortable. Self-care is about challenging ourselves. It means taking the necessary risks to grow and evolve as a human being. Staying stagnant is for the mundane. Anyone that loves themselves wants to take risks, step outside the comfort zone, + try new things. TRANSFORM ourselves. This is where failure comes in, much failure. Do you believe you can’t succeed in something? Because whether you believe it or not you are correct! There is an awful, AWFUL word that can destroy our courage. That word is Rumination. It is derived from Latin for chewing cud. Figuratively it means to mull over, to play the same thoughts over + over. In this case to play the same negative thoughts over + over in our head. It is proven to lead to anxiety + depression. But studies show 2 minutes of changing thinking can overcome this battle of negative thinking. It won’t just heal psych wounds we will build emotional resilience + thrive happily- now that is self-care! How do you channel failure? How do you see your mistakes? It is empowering to look our mistakes dead in the eye +/or stop making excuses for them. There is a great book called “The Obstacle is the Way” by Ryan Holiday – He speaks about our failures + how they mold us and pave our way to our successes. Is this how you view your failures? When you take a risk and lose do you take your ball + go home or do you dust off the uniform + go out for another game? I say we join the game again but with different strategies + tactics, we play over + over + over until we get it right. That is the brilliance of failure. Love yourself enough to challenge yourself + take care of yourself so when you do fail it doesn’t hurt as much. Think about it, self-care means whatever we need to do to get to resourcefulness + resilience. Because those little eyes are seeing my reaction to failures + to fail is beautifully human!
Know Your Worth
“Self-esteem is not given; it is acquired.” -Nathaniel Branden
How is your self-esteem? Do you recognize who you are and allow yourself to live as you are? If you don’t love yourself enough to know you are worthy than you just can’t expect anyone else to. Self-worth starts with the individual. But first we must know our needs + core values. I mean, if we don’t know what satisfies us how can we even know how to take care of ourselves? Then, in turn, we won’t be able to take care of others either. When we know our worth we will behave in a way that is protective. This means we get to be selfish. ( YES! Finally! ) Self-care could mean just saying no sometimes. Staying away from the toxic individuals that may try to wreak havoc on our lives. We are worthy of more. It is the freedom of living/speaking our feelings, + yet being free of guilt. What are your affirmations? Do you literally give yourself pep talks? It all takes practice for sure, but this is proven to bring long term joy to our lives. When my daughter was 2 years old I would stand her in front of the mirror + have her say “I love you, Julia.” We would do this after every shower. She is now 6 years old + she likes to look in the mirror + name everyone she loves while looking at herself, which does include herself. I don’t know what will come of this but I am hopeful she will acquire a healthy sense of self a lot earlier than mommy!
Live With Authenticity
“You know what, you’re imperfect and you’re wired for struggle, but you’re worthy of Love and Belonging.” –Dr Brene Brown
Live your truth. Let yourself be seen, deeply seen. To live authentically you must be willing to be real. What does that mean? Well, to me, it means that we have to feel our feelings. Especially the ugly ones. The good ones are easy. The feelings like grief, fear, shame + disappointment. Those aren’t so easy. But in order to feel the good stuff we have to get through the bad stuff. We have to embrace vulnerability, which is defined as: the quality or state of being exposed. When we live our truth we are free to feel everything. This means taking more risk. Putting ourselves out there with no strings attached. Allowing ourselves to be vulnerable means we are living an authentic life + therefore we are living with our whole heart. Isn’t that what life is truly about? The willingness to invest in risks +/or relationships that may not work out. None of us can live this life alone + all of us need help at times, therefore we must be open to asking for help. This is an almost impossible feat for some. But it can be a huge part of any self-care. Bottom line? We are enough + it’s ok for the world to see us just as we are. Perfectly imperfect.
I absolutely love this topic and here is Brene Brown talking more about vulnerability on her TED TALK.
My wish is that these things are instilled in Julia now so she can love whole heartedly, have soulful relationships, ( even if some cause debilitating pain ), challenge herself, dream big, + live a truly authentic life. Ok, I need a cocktail, well maybe I’ll just hit the gym 🙂
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