By: Christine Smith (McFarlane)
I remember in the early stages of my healing journey, a therapist brought forth the concept of self care. She said
"Christine, when it comes to recovery and healing, don't be afraid to put yourself first. Take time for yourself, do what you need to do in order for you to feel good about yourself.
I remember looking at her and saying "but self care that's being selfish!"
My therapist smiled, shook her head and said
"No, that is what you have been raised to believe by some people who don't know themselves and healthy boundaries."
It took me awhile to digest that thought, and to really start adopting that into my daily life. I was afraid of upsetting people, and them being angry at me. I thought the worst of myself because instead of putting others ahead of myself, I was taking the time to pay attention to myself first, and the feedback I sometimes got was not always the greatest.
A part of self care for me meant that I had to learn to speak up for myself, say how I felt and learn how to deal with how the person I was speaking with reacted. Criticisms came in the form of some people pulling away from me, other times in reaction to learning how to do this, I pulled myself away because I found it easier to isolate myself than to deal with something straight on. More often than not, tears came, and that would make me even angrier at myself. I wanted to be seen as strong, and thought tears meant I was showing others that I was weak.
In fact, I've learned that my tears are a sign of just how sensitive I am to people and my environment. It's not something to be ashamed of, but it is something I work on regulating daily. When you grow up with abuse in any shape or form, a lot of time you learn to be terrified of any type of conflict. Unlearning being afraid of conflict can sometimes take a lifetime of work, because you tend to be that person who thinks "Conflict it's going to make my world end, or this person is going to hate me."
I also have a habit of always wanting to please people, even if my gut tells me otherwise. Learning the steps to self care are crucial to your continued healing journey and well being. I listed the ten steps to self care for my readers to see, and also for myself as a reminder because there are still days where I have a hard time slowing myself down and saying "hey, I need to take care of me."
It took awhile for me to adopt self care practices into my life, and into my healing journey. Sometimes I can do things for myself with no problem, and then there are
other times, I find myself struggling because I am one of those people
who tends to wear their heart on their sleeve. I know that I always want
to please people. That's always been in my nature, and I don't think that will ever change, that's just a part of who I am, and something I will always have to pay attention to.
So, next time you are feeling particularly stressed out, or feeling low about something, stop and try to think of the top ten things that you can do for yourself. In order for you to feel at the top of your game again, the number one thing is to remember that being gentle with yourself is of utmost importance.
Self care can be anything that makes you feel good, as long as it safe. Until my next installment of "Life's Journey" take care of yourself and stay strong!