What stops us from indulging in self care? Is it because we view it as an indulgence instead of a necessity? My first thought writing this was exactly what I wrote, “What stops us from indulging in self care?”. What would happen if we, as women, stopped viewing self care as a luxury or indulgence and instead viewed self care as the necessity that it is?
Do you think we would be better able to care for our families? How about being more focused at work, more present mentally/emotionally/spiritually in everyday life. Or perhaps the most thing of all – we would be happier.
I know I want to be happy. Don’t you?
So what stops me personally from giving myself the care I know I need and deserve? Usually nothing. I put my daughter in daycare, I treat myself to delicious, healthy food, get massages when I need them, pedicures, I read, I write, I draw, I meditate, I do yoga, etc. But there are times when my ego gets the best of me. Last week was one of those times.
If you follow along with my blog or IG (@enthusiastic_joyful_life) you’ll know that we just moved from Washington State to Oahu, HI. I was never really keen on coming here, but my husband wanted to come and, in truth, facing another PNW winter where I’m chained to my Happy Light October 1 – March 31st didn’t sound all that appealing. So, here we are. In Tacoma I had a job at the local YMCA that I loved, I had friends, I knew where all the good shops were, my daughter and I had a routine that worked for us both and we were really nicely settled in. It was hard to leave.
Of course there are perks to living in HI… beaches, swimming year round, no scraping ice off car windows, no hauling around jackets/mittens/hats/umbrellas, etc. New house, new job, new opportunities. These times of transition can be really great or really horrible, it just depends on one’s outlook and attitude. Anyway, I digress…slightly.
So last week I was stuck in my head. I was in the mindset of “should” and “I wish”. We all go there. This is just a part of life. It “should” be cool and crisp right now. “I wish” it wasn’t so hot. “I wish” I could see some pretty leaves changing. Or the worst one of all, I “should” feel better. No, I shouldn’t. What I should be doing (always) is letting myself feel whatever it is that comes up, acknowledging it for what it is – a passing emotion – and letting it do just that — pass.
My “ah-ha” moment came when I was driving. I was sitting at a red light in my neighborhood and it hit me. I’d been living so deeply in my egoic mind, in the ideas of shoulds and wishes, that I wasn’t able to appreciate the present. Have you ever found yourself doing this?
Once I realized this it was easy to snap out of it. As I’ve written about before: Gratitude = Abundance. My thoughts/feelings of lacking friends, familiar places, a job, etc. weren’t sending out good vibes. All those thoughts/feelings were doing was dragging me and my energy down. (Once you realize this it’s up to you to make the change.) Being happy isn’t just something that happens, it’s a choice. We choose to see the good or see the bad. We choose to be angry about someone cutting us off in traffic instead of knowing deeply that their rudeness has nothing to do with us. We choose. We choose. We choose.
Of course with all that being said it isn’t always so easy to just “feel better”. I understand that 100%. I’m no stranger to depression. What has really helped me realize my own power is spiritual reading and meditation. Once you realize how powerful you truly are you’ll see how easy it is to choose.
How does this relate to self care? To commit acts of self care we must first acknowledge ourselves. We acknowledge that we need to be fulfilled and our needs matter. We acknowledge that we aren’t perfect, can’t do it all, and need some down time.
(Again, as women, this has become culturally and socially difficult. I don’t want to hypothesize why – I’ll leave that to you, but I know for me this used to be a big issue. I felt less-than because I couldn’t accomplish everything on my to-do list in one day. Again, I was living in my egoic mind’s idea of “shoulds”.)
Sometimes acknowledging yourself can be kind of uncomfortable. When you look at yourself with unfiltered honesty you may see things you don’t like, or maybe things you didn’t even know were there. This is OK. In fact, I think this is great. When you find things within yourself that you don’t like so much, the first step in changing them is to acknowledge them and we certainly can’t acknowledge things we don’t know exist!
Avoiding Self Care
Why was I avoiding self care when I needed it most? Because I was hurting and acknowledging that hurt was painful. It was a lot easier to watch TV, spend extra time on social media, and all around distract myself from myself. I know I’m not the only one who does this. In fact, I believe we are experiencing an epidemic of avoiding ourselves – not just women either. Men are experts at avoiding themselves too.
Avoiding ourselves and our issues is super easy to do with all our technology, but I ask you, do you really want to live your life avoiding yourself? I know I don’t. I won’t. No matter how uncomfortable it makes me, I will meet myself where I’m at and acknowledge that I’m not perfect, I can’t do it all, and I deserve to take care of myself. I am worthy of self care and so are you.