This week’s topic landed in my lap yesterday. Literally.
I keep a running list of subjects and drafts. Sometimes I have my topic picked a week or more in advance. I thought I had decided on this one until I friend shared a fantastic piece of work on Facebook about self-care by Brianna Wiest.
My phone was in my lap as I was riding along somewhere in Alabama during our long road trip back home from the Thanksgiving holiday. I had brought with me a bag full of books, magazines, and my journal, resolving to not spend a lot of time with my screen. And while I did a pretty good job of that, when I read Brianna’s words, they really spoke to me. Each and every sentence. Wow, I need to save this, I thought. And so I did, making a note that I would answer my friend’s prompt about my favorite method of self care when I figured out the one that best aligned with that writing.
It was a couple of hours before I looked at my phone again and when I did, three more friends (who did not know each other) had also shared the same post on their pages. Moments later, I saw it appear in one of my groups. One state later, it appeared in another one.
Because this has never happened before with something that resonated so deeply with me, I took this as a message that I should share it too. So I did. Shortly afterward, another friend replied that she had seen it earlier and almost sent it to me then as she had thought of me.
Wow. Okay, Universe. I hear you.
I won’t break down every sentence, but there are a few that I want to highlight and expand on the ways that they speak to me.
“Self-care should not be something we resort to because we are so absolutely exhausted that we need some reprieve from our own relentless internal pressure.”
I am methodically chipping away at all of my subscription services for this very reason! Yes, a deep tissue massage is an amazing contribution to the mind, body, and spirit. However, am I doing this often enough to warrant a monthly subscription? It would be more economical for me to do this as needed.
I have a solid home gym and miles of trails to walk, run, or bike that connect steps away from my front door. There have been times that I have found myself working out at the gym by a wall of windows, asking myself why the hell I’m not outside soaking up some vitamin D. Farewell, gym membership. You will be missed – especially the water conditioners in the showers that left my hair so very soft.
I had put my yoga studio membership on hold in exchange for the total gym package and ever since I did that, I’ve found myself missing it deeply. It is there alone I have experienced moments of pure gratitude and connection on a near spiritual level that I haven’t been able to replicate elsewhere. I think that’s true self-care.
“True self-care is…making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from.”
“It often means looking your failures and disappointments square in the eye and re-strategizing. It is not satiating your immediate desires.”
As an entrepreneur (indeed, a solopreneur), I feel I’m facing failures and disappointments every single day. Sometimes I can measure them in moments. And you know what? A crazy thing happens when you do this. Failures and disappointments don’t seem so scary anymore.
I place the blame squarely on our factory-like educational system for indoctrinating us as children to be terrified of failure. Fail enough exams or standardized tests and you’ll repeat the entire grade. Of course, many of our parents reinforced it. I had one of those who would express extreme disapproval if I brought home a B on my report card – because I was “better than that”.
That earned me a whole lot of academic accolades and decades of a perfectionism mindset afterward that I’m finally shedding. That wasn’t serving me. It wasn’t making me better or stronger. It was keeping me afraid.
When you’re afraid, you run. You hide. You numb. The immediate desire to make all of the bad feelings go away can be easily obtained with a bottle of wine or a pint of ice cream.
Facing your fears, continually challenging yourself to fail, fail again, fail harder? I think that’s true self-care.
“It is no longer using your hectic and unreasonable life as justification for self-sabotage in the form of liquor and procrastination.”
Everywhere we turn, we are practically inundated with options for instant gratification and indulgence as a means to escape the routine, the mundane, and most certainly the failures. After all, we have to numb those bad feelings away or at least distract from them. We can only be happy, happy, happy all of the time. That’s the messaging that is coming our way on the daily.
Yet the antithesis of satiating your immediate desires is procrastination – and we do that too! Whatever means we don’t have to truly explore the darkness inside of our souls, we’ll sign up for without hesitation. Give me that subscription service that will make me feel better! Where do I sign? A life coach that’s going to open windows and doors into rooms I don’t want to visit? No thanks!
Numbing with liquor (or your numbing agent of choice) and procrastination are both extremely effective mechanisms of avoidance. We justify it with ease. I’m too busy right now. I’m not ready for that. Maybe next month or next year or sometime in Nev-uary.
What you are left with when you avoid the moments of discomfort that are intended to be a part of your journey in this life is an entire ocean of discomfort that was never acknowledged. Eventually, that levee is going to break.
Seeing discomfort for what it really is – an opportunity to know your self on a deeper level – and embracing it? I think that’s true self-care.
I have taken a long, winding and rocky path to learn that I need to feel in order to heal. I finally believe that the path is beginning to straighten and that this life of mine is all beginning to make sense.
“It is becoming the person you know you want and are meant to be.”
Stop numbing. Start becoming.
What are you waiting for?
Would you like to be coached on this or another area of your life? Book a free consultation with me here.