So what does selfcare really mean?
Selfcare is something that only you can provide for yourself and is by far the most important ingredient for true wellness.
- It means showing up for yourself every single day.
- It means taking the time to work on yourself instead of avoiding yourself.
In 2017, we saw words like selfcare, authenticity and mindfulness often being overused, yet very misunderstood.
Saying and doing are very different things. Having struggled with my own mental health and addictions for 20 years, words like selfcare, authenticity and mindfulness are sacred words upon which the solid foundation of a strong and healthy lifestyle is built.
Real self care is about valuing yourself enough to treat yourself with respect and kindness. It’s about understanding that there are no prizes in life for being a sacrificial lamb, and understanding that when you give to yourself first, you have so much more to give to others, so it’s a true win win. Just think about aeroplanes when they ask you to put on your own mask first before helping others.
I agree that selfcare can be difficult sometimes because it asks us to be present and deal with life as it happens instead of pretending everything is fine. Very often we wear a mask for the outside world when our world inside is crumbling. But it is only through facing the very things that scare us can we have real change and peace in our hearts and minds.
Selfcare means finding and following our passion and purpose. It means being strong and aligning with our true values and ethos instead of merging with the masses and losing our way. When we practice authentic selfcare, we work with our mind and transform it to create a better life not only for ourselves but also for those around us.
Selfcare awakens our authentic self and allows us to live out our true calling and not one mapped out for us by others. However its needs ingredients like consistency, awareness, mindfulness, love, kindness, gratitude and daily practice to be transformed into a way of living that continuously delivers miracles to us daily.
When we practice living like this, we experience a shift in perception, which encourages us to be kinder and more loving to both others and ourselves.
LIFE IS A JOURNEY
As individuals we never stop growing, learning and evolving till the day we die. When we do, problems happen. One of the biggest learnings I have had so far is that you can either consciously choose to live life to the fullest, or you can do what I did for years and walk around dead. There are so many people in the world today who are alive but dead.
I became stagnant in different areas of my life and stunted my growth. Very often, as human beings, we have a goal in life such as leaving college and getting a good job or getting married and having kids. What can happen when we achieve these things is that we become complacent and dare I say even lazy. We have now hit our target and so we stop trying and sit back to enjoy the ride. I did this for years as I reached goals I thought ‘that’s it fantastic life will now take care of me’ but I learnt the hard way that it simply doesn’t work like that. You get out of life what you put into it and every time you get to a place where you feel comfortable, it’s time to push further and grow more.
This is how you stay alive, excited, curious, connected and adventurous. When you live this way, you are happening to life and life is not happening to you. When you become stagnant, life happens to you. This is when you become a victim.
I used to be a victim! Nothing was ever my fault. It was always someone else’s. If I didn’t book a big job it was my agents’ fault, my sisters’, boyfriends’ or whoever was lucky enough to be standing to close to me at the time. If I missed work because I was out drinking, it was the fault of the people I was with, not mine.
It’s hard to take responsibility, it’s hard to look at yourself in the mirror and see aspects of yourself that are not so appetizing.
Responsibility and selfcare go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other. Self-respect and selfcare go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other and boundaries and selfcare go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other.
I learned all of this the hard way. I had no self-respect; little or no boundaries and I never took responsibility for my behavior even when it meant I was hurting others.
Addiction will strip you bare. It will chew you up and spit you out. It will lie to you and for the small moment that you think it relieves your pain, it will give you more and multiply it by four each time.
Facing and feeling the issues and problems that life presents to us heal pain. It doesn’t work by turning your cheek and running the other way. I know because I did this for most of my adult life. Avoiding pushes those experiences and feelings down further. You push them down so hard and far you think you are clever and that they are gone forever but one day they will bubble back to the surface and what do you then?
They will present themselves in all sorts of ways through illness, depression, anger and rage. Just think of it like a bottle of coke that you have been shaking for years. Now just imagine when the cap comes off, the mess it makes. Does it not make sense to feel and deal as we go along so that the mess doesn’t get so overwhelming?
Now I’m well aware that life is complex and each one of us has our own journey. Some people are given the tools to cope and some are not. I had none and mental health is certainly not a topic that was ever spoken about when I was young. Mental health issues and addictions bring shame and guilt into a family and that cycle can only be broken when each one of us accepts that no one is perfect and we need more understanding, support and compassion.
Shame, blame and guilt are deeply ingrained in Irish culture, primarily a hangover of the control the Catholic Church had for so long. When you have been reared like this, it’s hard to break the cycle and break free.
Part of practicing selfcare means being genuinely kind and compassionate towards yourself and when guilt has been your comfort zone, the shift to love can take time.
My golden rule is to treat yourself as you would a best friend. Every time you say something mean, ask yourself ‘would I say that to a friend’. Our words have real power and negative self-talk lowers our energy and vibration.
I also believe mindfulness is one of the most important daily practices and something that is not optional anymore. We need to consciously include mindful moments in our lives because the digital age has now removed the ones we had naturally. We have become wired and tired and need to bring more mindfulness in to help calm and control both our body and mind.
Overall selfcare enables you to find your way among the masses, to find your way home to your true self. After all it’s an inside out world regardless of what the illusion of this world would have you think.
So why should you do this and practice selfcare?
Because you are unique. You are the only you on the whole earth and you are a unique expression of our creator’s love.
So don’t ever expect to be like anyone else. Just be you. Your beautiful bright, bold and unique self.