On Self-Care

You’re starving yourself.

You’re not being honest about what you need or who you are or what you’re not getting.

We know that we need a balanced diet in the physical world. On our plates.

But spiritually, we also need balance.

And if you’re not getting everything you need spiritually, it’s your spirit that’s malnourished.

Right now we, as a society, spent a lot of time talking about self-care. We debate on whether that means doing yoga, or eating ice cream, or binge watching television, or getting a massage…

And no one seems quite sure they’re getting it right.

That’s because we don’t know what we need. So we adopt whatever thing we think will feel good to us. Or the thing that sounds like we’re taking the best care of ourselves.

We don’t know if ice cream will actually make us feel better, but we give it a shot because it makes us smile (even if it contradicts a current health goal).

And we don’t know if yoga is actually going to do anything for us spiritually or physically, but we hear it works for other people so we do it.

And then post a picture of whatever we choose with #selfcare.

But shouldn’t good self-care pour back into an area we spend from and don’t spend enough time replenishing?

Where are you depleted?

The truth is, the best self-care for you on one day could be laying in bed and rubbing on your skin and just remembering the time when your skin didn’t feel so good (back when you didn’t make your body a priority) and appreciating yourself for getting it back into good condition.

But on another day, it might be turning off the phone for few hours to reconnect with yourself after having listened to a lot of bad news this week.

Or it might be journaling and getting to the bottom of an issue you’ve been struggling with.

Or writing a love letter to yourself after a really fantastic week. Self-care doesn’t have to wait until something bad happens.

What do you need right now that will help you pour into yourself?

Self-care or no self-care, when we are not honest about who we are we can’t be honest about what we need.

And we can’t be honest about what we need if we’re not honest about who we are.

Which leaves you doing what you think you should do rather than giving yourself what you know you need.

So what the hell do we do?

Look at your patterns.

You might not realize that who you are can be realized by paying attention to what you do and when you do it.

Like, when you procrastinate. We all do it. But we do it for different reasons.

Some of us procrastinate when we’re scared that the work we’re about to do isn’t going to be good enough.

Some of us procrastinate when we feel we don’t have enough information to take the kind of action we want to take.

Some of us procrastinate because we genuinely don’t want to do what’s in front of us and we’re hoping that if we waste enough time, we won’t have to do this thing at all.

Or, think about when people piss you off the most.

Is it when they put words in your mouth or don’t listen to what you’re saying closely enough?

Is it when they exclude you from making a group decision because they assumed you’d be busy or not care or for some other annoying reason?

Is it when they assume you’ll be taking charge of something that isn’t your responsibility and expect you to pick up the pieces if things fall apart?

Do you need more attention (or just about anything else) than you let on and then get disappointed time and time again when someone just can’t seem to “figure it out”?

Noticing your reactions can help you realize what matters to you. Helping you realize who you are. Helping you to be more of who you are while creating a space that feeds those previously hidden parts of you.

But, if we’re not ready to be our whole selves, then those parts of us that we’re not being will starve.

And maybe the parts of us that we do live out loud will thrive.

But you can’t live on one or two food groups alone. That applies to your body and your spirit.

I’m not saying you need to go from hiding parts of yourself to sharing everything with everyone immediately. Frankly, you don’t owe everyone else all of you.

But you owe your whole self the chance to be acknowledged.

Even the parts of you you don’t like.

And especially the parts of you that you like, but keep hidden, because you think no one else will like them.

Because all of that is you. Like it or not.

Ignoring those parts of you will not make them just go away. Instead you’ll just be harboring disappointment in your own self. For what?

And for who?

If you know those parts of yourself well enough to dislike them, then you won’t easily forget that those things are a part of you. No matter how much you starve them.

Some of the things you find out about yourself might be ugly. Or they might be things that somebody else told you were ugly. And maybe there are things that you want to change.

But you can’t change them if you ignore them.

And hey, if you hate these things about you that much, maybe they actually will starve to death before they ever see the light of day.

But do you really think that nobody knows that you’re hiding behind something?

Good luck with that one.

Because even if everybody can’t figure out what it is you’re hiding, many people will figure out you’re hiding something.

Living in the shadow of normalcy only works until someone or something shines a light on who you truly are.

“If you’re always trying to be normal, you’ll never know how great you can be.” – Maya Angelou

Self-care is kind of a mystery without self-love.

Self-love is tough without self-knowledge.

Nothing I’m saying about learning who you are, and then living who you are, is about you doing any of this for anyone else.

It’s about you being happiest with yourself. You’re stuck with you.

Life is a lot easier when you like who you are and how you spend your time and know how to treat yo self.

So, go ahead. Step into the light.

And feed yourself.

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