Upending Self Care
A couple of years ago I was working with an executive coach to help me figure out why I couldn't seem to find fulfillment in my career. The answer to that question is a topic for another day, but I do want to touch on a question she asked me over and over.
My coach would ask about my work challenges and then she'd ask what I was doing to take care of myself. Aha! I'm good at this one I'd think. She'll be so impressed! Then I'd list the litany of self-care activities I was committed to. Journaling, exercise (a balance of cardio, strength, and stretching thank you VM), sleep, healthy diet. But to my confusion, she'd say ok, but what are you doing to take care of yourself? HUH? Surely she misunderstood. So I'd say it slower and speak more clearly. And she would say ok and we'd move on. I always felt unsettled though. I knew I'd gotten it wrong in her eyes but I couldn't figure out why.
18 months into my self imposed sabbatical and I think I get it!!!! Drum roll…
Self-care is not the same thing as caring for myself! Yeah, self-care matters. Yeah, I'm an overachiever in that area, but caring for myself...well, what does that look like? I think it means doing things for me/having grace for myself like I do for people I love. It means:
1. Letting myself off the hook when I'm just too tired, even if I might be disappointing someone else 2. Staying up late with my sister and aunt, having too much to drink, and going for a swim bathed in the moonlight and nothing else 3. Stressing over my morning schedule so I can make it to a yoga class and then not beating myself up for letting my mind wander the whole time. Then realizing I was only there for the 5 minutes of meditation and being thankful for those 5 minutes 4. Calling a girlfriend who thinks I'm the most positive person ever and breaking down in sobs 5. Eating the whole avocado for breakfast 6. Discovering deeply buried desires and beliefs and then pursuing my newly recognized dreams, knowing that I might be judged or abandoned as a result 7. Letting myself get stupidly giddy when I hear the cha-ching of an eBay sale 8. Setting aside my drive for recognition, a big title and a salary to match. Allowing myself to be financially provided for--thank you, hubby! 9. Feeling the pain of a mistakenly received text message (it basically said I was ugly). Crafting all sorts of judgmental and sarcastic responses and then choosing to let it go. I know I could have been the one who hit send by mistake 10. Learning from said text message and promising myself that I will live my life from a place of integrity. If I mistakenly hit send in the future, I will own it
What about you? Kudos to you if you're good at self-care. Seriously! But what about your love affair with yourself? How do you express that love? What do you crave from those around you and how can you be that for yourself?
Shanti. Shanti. Shanti. (Peace. Peace. Peace.)
Sarah Joy aka Sheer Joy