If you had asked me at any point in my life, I would have told you I’ve been taking care of myself since about the age of two. The truth is, I’ve been doing anything but taking care of myself. I’ve taken care of everyone else and as for myself, I’ve powered through. I powered through everything. Life with no dad and an abusive mother, the role reversal that happened when I was 16 and she sustained a traumatic brain injury, being a completely awkward introvert, being insecure, changing schools every two or three years because my mother needed to move, majoring in a subject I didn’t love in college, never being sure if anyone really liked me and not understanding why they would if they did, being really angry at the shit hand I’d been dealt. Then there are the major things I powered through and not well, like losing my Nana. I powered through feeling completely broken on the inside but not letting it show to my friends, coworkers, husband, family, and most of all, not to my kids.
I have made up my mind to take care of myself many times and set it aside. I wouldn’t settle for my kids not taking care of themselves. I coach my friends, family, clients and readers to take care of themselves. I write about the ways I take care of myself each day, such as taking 10 minute breaks to sit outside with the dogs and admire nature, going to the gym, drinking green shakes, trying to meditate, getting pedicures. The truth is, taking care of yourself comes from within and starts with loving yourself. How many of us can say we’re good at that? How many of us look in the mirror and love the person we see? Most of us are powering through. Our powering through life might even be to maintain the balance in a relationship where our partner is merely powering through. I can’t take better care of myself than my partner does him or herself. It wouldn’t be fair.
So when you look around, you see a world of people powering through. And it shows in the rates of drug use, addiction to shopping, gambling and credit cards. It shows in the kids who are lost because their parents are powering through.
Powering through doesn’t mean that you don’t enjoy life at all; it means you don’t enjoy it to its fullest. You love your children, your spouse, maybe even your job. You just don’t love yourself enough to indulge in self-care that does more than put polish on your toes or a new shirt on your back. You’re willingly set aside that which feeds your soul. You talk yourself out of it, make excuses why you don’t have time for it or money for it, when in fact, it’s the secret passage to everything else you want, need, love.
So, what is this soul-level self-love? It’s a few simple things.
Soul level self-care takes more practice than anything else you’ve done in your life and is most worth the work. Like brushing your teeth, it’s a daily practice that produces optimal results when done several times a day with gentleness.
You are worth it. I promise.