As I am getting back to my spiritual practices I am finding myself struggling. One message I continually get is to take care of and love myself the way I care for and love others. This has left me feeling …. empty. I realized that over the years I have only ever given myself just enough to get by. I am rarely filled up. As I was journaling this morning I was facing this part of myself. I uncovered a thought, an idea, that has been there for as long as I can remember. When I am “selfish” bad things happen. Every time I set a boundary, do something that feels good, or just take care of myself something negative usually follows. Loss of clients, people upset with me, harassing messages and calls from a stalker, kids throwing tantrums, fights, accidents, things I care about breaking… you get the point. I wish when you found these hidden ideas in your mind they just melded into something else more positive. This idea has been with me for a long time and it will take some persistent gentle care on my part to transform it into a new way of believing. As I sat there with my pen in hand I focused on a new phrase that I could replace this negative one with. “When I take care of and love myself all blessings come to me.”
Through my daily practices I can retrain my mind to receive only blessings, instead of curses, when I take care of myself. I am striving to make a better life everyday and to also share with anyone who cares to follow.
Transforming the word selfish.
By definition selfish is:
1: concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others
2: arising from concern with one’s own welfare or advantage in disregard of others
We live in a world where saying no, doing something for ourselves, or setting boundaries is seen as selfish. And according to the definition this is accurate. When we say no to something we are putting ourselves above what another wants/needs. But from the reverse perspective that person/thing we are saying no to is also being selfish. In reality we are all selfish all the time. This being the case what if we used that selfish time for things that will fill us, so during those times when we give we don’t deplete ourselves. I think this is where the idea of self care came from. But it is still viewed as being selfish. Instead of trying to push this idea away I am going to embrace it. I will be selfish with my time, energy, plans, etc. As much as I want to give to everyone sometimes I cannot without taking from myself. Today I choose to be selfish and will continue to do so whenever I feel like I cannot give without depleting myself. When I am full I can spill over, that spill over is what I will give. This way I can always give the best of what I have because I have taken care of myself. The healing I give will have a potency that it has only had on a handful of occasions.
I think humanity needs to step away from this idea that it is an act of love, service, or heroism to give until we are empty and then to continue to give. I see how this idea stems from a lot of spiritual teachings and I don’t feel it is a productive direction for the human race. I am not saying to be a mean person, I am saying that if you are tired, sad, feeling depressed you should give to yourself first so you can better care for those around you and so that you can live a life that is full of joy and peace. It is important for each of us to have our own time, so we can recharge and come back with renewed vitality and love.
Ways to take care of myself:
positive self talk
better food choices, especially for snacks
massages, baths, soaks
nail care, skin care, hair care, dental care
physical, emotional, and spiritual connection
more water, less stimulants
less screen, more/different visual activities