In a world that primps, boxes and sells self-care as bath bombs, manicures, fluffy slippers and positive affirmations, whilst I love and do all these things, I am also discovering that self-care can often be a very un-beautiful thing.
In the name of self-care, we are often required to do the hardest, most uncomfortable and sometimes ugliest thing, like addressing and managing the sugar addiction we developed through the stressful season in our life or assertively setting boundaries with a friend who exploits our good nature. Or maybe it's needing to get a second job so we can afford to pay off "that big mistake" or figuring out a way to accept ourselves so that we're not constantly exhausted from trying to be everything, to everyone, all the time.
Self-care should not be something we resort to because we are so exhausted from the constant internal pressure we put on ourselves. Proper self-care is choosing to build a life that we don't need to escape from, which also requires that, at times, we need to do the things we least want to do.
It means taking complete accountability for our actions, failures and disappointments and learning how to do things better. It is letting go. It is choosing new. It is disappointing some people. It is making sacrifices for others. It is about choosing the things that matter to us, doing what's hard and living in a way that other people won't.
It is allowing ourselves to be normal. Regular. Unexceptional. It means sacrificing things to obtain the things that are important to us. It means letting go of people-pleasing and having the courage to step up and be assertive, which also requires making peace with the fact that not everyone will like your decision or even you.
Self-care has very little to do with "treating yourself", and a whole lot do with parenting yourself and making active choices for your long-term wellbeing.
It is no longer using your hectic, stressful, busy and unreasonable life as justification for self-sabotage in the form of alcohol, sugar and procrastination. It is learning how to stop trying to "fix yourself" and start taking care of yourself.
It means being the hero of your life, not the victim. It means no longer choosing a life that looks good over a life that feels good. It is the willingness to let go of some goals to achieve others. It is being honest, even if that means you aren't universally liked. It is meeting your own needs, so you aren't anxious, overburdened, exhausted and dependent on other people.
It is about prioritising our own self-worth and healing journey. Proactively seeking out ways to put all the broken pieces of ourselves back together in the most peaceful and positive way.
You have come into this world with a life purpose, and you have important choices to make. So how do you know when you are taking care of yourself and doing what you are here to do? The answer is simple - you feel good.
Spend some time prioritising the needs of the most important person in your life - YOU. Look for the ways you can take better care of yourself so that you fill yourself up from the inside out.
All the bath bombs, fluffy slippers and affirmation cards in the world will not heal and make us feel better if we don't feel good at the core of who we authentically are.
Take some time to slow down and appreciate yourself with a guided Compassionate Breathing Meditation
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