How we treat, take care, and think of ourselves is essential. It’s the foundation to living a healthy happy life. It is our job, our responsibility to take care of ourselves and be sure that our mind, body, and soul’s needs are being met. Doing this will, in effect, allow us to be fully there for others. Many think it is selfish to put yourself first. I disagree. How can we effectively be there, care for, love others when we can’t even do that for ourselves? It is not selfish to take care of and treat yourself well before others, it’s the healthy thing to do. We tend to put ourselves on the back burner while we tend to others, this results in us suffering because we aren’t giving ourselves the time we need to meet our own physical and mental/emotional needs. At that rate, we will find ourselves unhappy, dissatisfied, exhausted, and quite possibly resentful of the people we’ve been giving our all to while neglecting ourselves. This is NOT healthy.
While taking care of yourself you can, of course, still care for others. Just be sure you are not neglecting yourself in the process.
Caring for yourself, loving yourself, and treating yourself well doesn’t have to be a big time-consuming process. Be an active part of your life. Do things you enjoy doing; it could be reading a book, taking a walk, a 5 minute meditation practice or a day long meditation practice if you so desire. It could be taking time to do a few yoga poses, write a letter, maybe even write a letter old school style with pen and paper. The objective is to do something that fills your heart with happiness. Make time for yourself daily.
We talk to ourselves all of the time; some of us do it out loud while others do it silently in their heads, whatever the case, being mindful of how you talk to yourself and the messages you send yourself is crucial. I suspect, more often than not, we are being critical of our self rather than being kind and loving with our self. If this is the case, having an awareness of this will be very helpful in changing your self-talk. We can either build ourselves up or tear ourselves down with self-talk. We tend to believe what we tell ourselves, this can be very damaging. Try to be aware of when you talk to yourself. If you find yourself being unnecessarily critical of yourself or tearing yourself down, then stop in the middle of that self-talk session and correct what you’re saying to yourself. Maybe you’ve made a mistake, or did something wrong; that’s okay, you’re human. To error is a side effect of being human. We are ALL perfectly imperfect. Rather than tearing yourself down, make it a teaching/learning moment for yourself. Ask, “how can I handle this conversation with myself in a way that isn’t negative self-talk, but rather constructive self-talk?”. Overtime and with practice the way you self-talk will change and begin to do more building up rather than tearing down.
Once you begin loving, caring, and treating yourself well you will come to expect that same treatment from others. You will no longer accept less than you deserve.
Therefore, another piece to caring for yourself and treating yourself well is being aware of who you surround yourself with. We want connections with others, we want to be understood, we want a voice, we want respect, we want like-minded people, and we want support from the people we surround ourselves with. If you find yourself lacking these kinds of people in your circle, then join a group, club, organization, or class where like-minded people will be. If you like to meditate then find a meditation group near you. If you like to read then find a book club. If you like to do yoga then join a yoga class. There are other people in the world with similar interests as you, you just have to find them and connect with them. When you find them, you will know. These people are your tribe. These people “get” you. You will find peace, inspiration, understanding, a voice, and support. I can’t express enough the importance of finding your tribe. This will be so beneficial to your self-care.
Learning to treat yourself well, and to love and care for yourself will not be an easy endeavor. There’s a chance that how you treat and talk to yourself is how you’ve been treated and talked to by others, it’s a learned behavior. Learned behaviors can be corrected and replaced with better behaviors. But it will take time, patience, awareness, effort, and respect from yourself. You will need to be kind and gentle with yourself. In the end it will be one of, if not, the greatest gift you could give yourself, your loved ones, and all of the people in your tribe.
While you work on loving and caring for yourself, and treating yourself well, know that the following is true:
You are precious. You are worthy. You are good enough. You are enough. You are deserving of love, of healthy love. You are deserving of happiness. You have a voice and it deserves to be heard. You are deserving of respect. You, My Darlings, matter.
With Loving-kindness for yourself and others ♥
You are not alone!