Self care. What does that mean? What does it mean to you? Is it a night out? A pedicure? A Massage?
Is it what you do too or for yourself, on your own? Do you practice self care regularly? Do you avoid it?
Here’s a question: When you think of self care does it come with slight disappointments? Disappointments that you weren’t able to hold yourself accountable? You didn’t do what you set out to do. That you didn’t put yourself first? That you have to keep the dark things that ail you to yourself and “deal” with them? Is there shame involved?
I have always struggled with self care. Not because I don’t think it’s a marvellous idea; it’s just I’ve never really understood self care. Treating myself to a day shopping, a pedicure or massage helped me feel better in the moment but it didn’t last. When the day was over I still came back to my reality, my shame, my anxiety…It wasn’t until I met my best friend about 10 years ago that I started to learn that self care for me was sharing with someone who was committed to holding space for me. Someone who allowed me to process out loud, without judgement. This act of letting out what was hurting me inside felt so good. To speak the words…to name my fears, my struggles, my insecurities. To be open and honest. Honest with myself- out loud. All of this while feeling supported! That’s when I realized self care for me is connection. The connections I’ve made in being able to share freely about my darkest shadows have been some of the best self care moments of my life. Talk about “aha” moments. Connecting with someone who hears you and supports you; understands you, feels you, can relate to you, validates you…. That shit is powerful!
I believe deep down that real self care is actually all about self-acceptance and feeling connected. What if in the moments when you need to “practice” self care you were feeling connected to a friend, a group, a community. What if that “practice” of self care was feeling secure and safe and ready to ask for help or support? What if we could let go of the shame and share with others where we are at and what we need? How would that feel? What if we were brave enough to let others in?
I know without a doubt it is terrifying at first; to feel so vulnerable, so exposed. But what if we were just accepted AS WE ARE in that moment? What if self care looks like opening yourself up to the world around you and receiving support and validation. Feeling worthy! Wouldn’t that be a form of really great self care?
Connection is fundamental to the human experience. I believe giving and receiving love and validation is as vital to the soul as oxygen is to the body. I have connected with so many women over the years that believe this to their bones also…and yet we all keep it to ourselves. Too afraid to be judged. Instead; we get pedicures and massages and keep all the darkness inside. Why are we so afraid to be real? Not just with others but ourselves also. What would it take to change this? I think talking about it helps….because more often than not you will see that others feel the same way…Ta DA connection!
So the next time you are checking in on a friend or a loved one why not share what you think self care is. Let’s talk about the things that scare us or weigh heavy on our hearts, let’s share the load. Let’s dismantle stereotypes. Let’s be brave- together!
nothing but love for you all,