How often have you found yourself asking one or all of the following?
‘What’s wrong with me?’
“What did I do wrong?’
‘Why does no one love me?’
‘Why do I fall for someone, only for them to not want me?’
‘What. Why. How….?’
You know what I am referring to if you resonate with any of these…
If you’re anything like me…..it’s been pretty frequently over the years…are you tired of it? I am. Golly, so bored of running that dialogue with myself. Perpetually, telling myself such negative things. Causing myself pain, emotionally and physically, not to mention the mental turmoil.
A teacher once (Tom Balistreri) said something that rocked me to the core…’the first step of initiation, is to never say anything nasty to yourself again’. Well, I thought to myself….here I am….I have been ‘doing my work’ and yet, I am still being cruel to myself. Often, negating myself and being in a negative spiral of critical self-talk without even realising.
A few short years later, here I am again, writing, reflecting and realising that still I slip into this toxic pattern. Oh my, the stories we tell ourselves, the things we do that self-sabotage ourselves.
How do YOU ‘self-care’?
Salt baths, with essential oils and candles?
Nice dinner and glass of wine?
Have a pedicure?
Go on holiday?
Spend time in nature?
Spend time with beloveds/friends/yourself?
I could continue; I have many more, I am after all a double Taurus and ‘self-care’ comes as second nature it’s in my genetic makeup….
Nope, I argue the fundamental thing that is THE most important ‘self-care’ tool…. …THINK GOOD THOUGHTS about yourself. YES! BE NICE TO YOURSELF…be kind, be gentle, be loving, be compassionate, get off your own back. I don’t mean forget everything and everyone else and spiritually bypass the responsibility of your own healing by pretending nothing else matters and thinking ‘only good things’. No I mean. Be AWARE deeply aware of your internal dialogue with yourself. To notice when something gets triggered and when we go into an old pattern of story and stopping. Taking a breath and saying, I see you, I hear you, I’ve got you.
Being kinder to myself has been the greatest gift I have given myself. I repeat: Being kinder to myself has been the greatest gift I have given myself.
It hasn’t been so long that this has been a practise as this one ‘small’ thing is indeed one of the hardest. I say ‘practise’ as it is exactly that a practise. There are not many of us that I am aware of lucky enough to bring this in as a natural state of being. It has often taken some hard life knocks and realisations for us to get there. To realise something in our way of ‘being or doing, comparing to others, self and other expectations’ just isn’t working and we have to create a change. This was my experience. You may indeed be different and to this I honour your journey and celebrate your knowledge of this.
To practise self-kindness calls us to make different choices, step out of the box, to cease running the self-limiting stories that have created us and keep us locked in the toxic patterns. The reverse is quite spectacular, it means we give ourselves PERMISSION.
We come to a place of acceptance within ourselves and thus give ourselves permission. Permitting ourselves freedom, grace, play, love and connection. To practise self-care and self-kindness It liberates us from feeling we need to prove anything to anyone or DO anything. It stops the judgement of others and of ourselves. For its true we could be practising all the ‘self-care’ in the world, yet if we are still telling ourselves we are this that or the other, we are judging ourselves, in turn judging others and actually not practicing ‘self-care’ at all!
It accepts the individual, the human-being that we are.
Being kinder to myself, has indeed been the greatest gift to myself. It lets me off the hook. Not in the way that I don’t’ care or won’t continue to be the best version of myself (this too is a practise), no it means I give myself permission to get it wrong, to stop, take a breath, realise my error, where I have been operating from a place of woundedness or fear and start again. It means that I get to grow without penalising myself all the time. Well, I still can do this but then, in my defence I have had over 40 years’ experience so it’s a tricky one to simply stop without practise, recognition, choice and strengthening the part of myself that is ‘acting out’.
Yes, I give myself a ‘reset button’. An Ah Hah moment, a moment of recognition and then choice. A choice to make a different decision, to think a different thought, to pick up the phone and ask for some support in order to see things a different way. To step away from the ‘story’ and into the ‘now’ the nothing and no-thing. To be with the discomfort of the unknown, the ‘meantime or void’.
The unknown terrifies most of us who like to control in order to feel safe. It is a place of such fear and resistance that we can look to question deeply our choices that have led us here. To go into blame, self-loathing and criticism as it is known and easy, actually it’s actually the most painful place to be as we hurt ourselves.
This time is a crucial time. It is the edge and this edge, this ‘rub’, this muscle to be worked requires some skill and time. It requires the discipline to make a different choice and select a different path. It takes courage and consciousness. It takes us to take a lead of faith…..a leap of faith in ourselves.
It’s within this place of faith in ourselves, we begin to see to KNOW that there is actually nothing wrong with us at all. We begin to learn and KNOW that the person we thought had left us, we didn’t really want anyway, or if we did and the relationship ended was it actually the ‘RIGHT’ relationship for me or had we outgrown each other?
We get to know, trust and believe in ourselves, our value and our beauty, we get to see our integrity and service in the world, how we make a difference and who we touch. We begin to let in the love, LET IN LIFE, unlike any time before..
Yes, beloveds, we get to know. To truly know who we are and that we are worthy of living a life full. We get to hang up the stories and create new memories. Though the kindness and grace we bestow upon ourselves we learn how to truly ‘have our own back’, to self-care on the deepest level that nourishes us to our soul not just toenails…
This my friend is the time that we get to truly live….and believe you me it is a gift, just as you are a gift.