In the Name of Self-Care : Part 1

I’ve been wanting to write for a bit, but of course, figuring out what to write about is the hardest part. Reflecting on the past year has been huge for me. It’s funny to look back in time and remember when I thought I was on top of my shit. And just as funny is it to see where I’m at now (aka I was nowhere close to what I thought I was). But it’s okay. We need moments like that in our lives that bring us to new conclusions, glorified reality checks if you will. Sometimes you think you’ve figured it all out, while the universe is there waiting and watching for how you’ll handle the next curve ball. And of course, the universe always wins. If we aren’t careful, we’ll fall back into old, toxic habits and make the same mistakes again until we finally learn and understand the lesson. And that’s what happened to me. I’m sure you remember the last couple of posts I made were about the being real and honest with yourself, the importance of positivity and conscious efforts in our day-to-day lives.

Oh dear, Madeleine. Smh.

It’s so easy to write about it and believe it in theory, but executing. That’s the hard part. If you are not careful, you expose yourself to toxicity and unhealthy situations. And you have to stay vigilant, because it will happen just like that. You’re a year in and you feel confused: how in the heck did I get to be where I am? What happened? Was I sleeping???

In a way, yeah, I was sleeping. I was unconscious in my thoughts and actions, not staying present with my needs and my boundaries. And it’s crazy because I thought I learned all that. In theory, respecting yourself and honoring your spirit is totally the way to go. For sure. But when you are going into a situation with a semi-grasp on that, it’s going to be a difficult time trying to stay afloat without the proper tools. Like if I thought I was being mindful then, jeez.

And it’s hard. Knowing your limits and consciously choosing to respect yourself in every situation. I’ve made plenty of mistakes to realize that now. What I am understanding, though, is that it’s an important part of taking care of ourselves. Like animals in the wild, every man for himself. Of course, I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but until I get a hold on this crazy world, I’ve got to make sure I give myself the best care and attention I can. Literally, my sanity and survival depend on it. But then there’s also that super fine line between nurturing your soul and enabling yourself that you have to tread very carefully. You have to learn the difference between instant gratification and long-term satisfaction. You aren’t nurturing yourself by choosing momentary happiness followed by feelings of guilt, shame, anger, and frustration. That’s a big one for me. Sometimes not going after something you really want is good for you. Indulgence is tricky. Stay woke.

There have been plenty of ups and downs in my life, some years are great, some not so great. What I fail to remember is that these are necessary growth periods. Yes, you’re gonna be down, but don’t forget, you’re gonna get right back up and kick some ass. It’s hard to see that when you are at your lowest. I completely feel that. Sometimes I even like to sit in my pity party. It’s a lot easier to deflect any and all responsibility for the circumstances in your life and complain about how sucky you feel. But eventually, being sad and lonely is boring. These habits become ugly reflections, and you feel compelled to do something different. Hopefully, you can do a little mental work and allocate some energy to making this change. But I know it’s not just a light switch. You can’t just become a happy person. I’ve never claimed it to be that easy, but perhaps my optimism gives off that vibe sometimes. I have become painfully aware of the reality of the situation: you have to try. Make an effort. Do something. No one is going to do the work for you.

One or two blog posts isn’t going to change your life. Developing new habits takes time and effort to integrate them into your life. Your self-esteem isn’t going to make a full recovery in a day. It will take a lot of patience, focus, and discipline to develop strength. You have to want recovery for yourself. When you are down and not feeling your best, I know, it seems nearly impossible. But the keyword is “seems”, here. It’s possible. Your mind is going to tell you over and over that it’s not, that it’s too hard and too much work to get there.

And you are going to learn to turn the volume down on that voice and do the damn thing. Even if it means eating a small breakfast. Taking the trash to the dumpster. Smiling at yourself in the mirror. Being thankful for little things, like the gift of life, not having allergies today, being able to drink a nice, clean glass of water from the sink. Whatever you can do to challenge that small part of you that thinks you can’t. And then, the realistic, compassionate part of your soul will start to blossom, and you can begin to feel hope that one day you will beat what’s bringing you down.

I think the scariest part of it all is that we are the reason we feel sucky. Our minds are warped into thinking we aren’t worthy, not good enough. It’s hard to admit that we are the culprit behind our unhappiness. But it’s necessary and important to acknowledge. Only until then can we turn this mess around. Compassion and forgiveness go a long way, especially when having that inner dialogue with yourself. Because it’s so easy to become the victim in this situation. I’m a horrible person for getting myself into this. Why am I too stupid to realize? What makes me so messed up to not just be happy? 

But you have to stop right there. Nothing is going to be resolved if you let yourself drown in this cycle. Forgive yourself for making mistakes. Appreciate your ability to feel and experience life. Understand that you are only doing what you know to do to protect yourself in that moment. Show yourself the unconditional love you need to accept that mistakes happen and growth only comes from adversity. You need this moment to rise.

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I have by no means mastered life, but I am learning how to fight these feelings. Equip myself with the tools and know-how to rise above the nonsense. I was trying to think of a cool way to explore self-care and share what I’m experiencing, so I brainstormed an acronym for self-care that I’ll share in Part 2 of the self-care saga. It’s probably nothing new, as self-care articles and memes are circulating around the net. But surely I’m not alone in being undisciplined and lazy. I think for me, seeing things like “take a shower, go for a run, do some yoga, etc.” seemed weird. Like okay, yeah, I’ll just go take a shower and things will be back to normal. I get that doesn’t work. I think there has to be an element of psychological work to tackle some of the aspects of self-care, staying true to ourselves. I hope that reading this puts you at ease, reassures you that happiness is possible. That you, too, can bloom and become what you’ve always wanted.

Stay tuned!

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4 comments

  1. Kindred spirits engaged in similar equilibriums, pendulous swings into the blurred abyss and back into the viscerally clear enlightenment…. life unveiled. Well written Maddy, I look forward to more scribe…

    Like

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