I find it amazing that people who are so loving, kind, and generous to others are often so hard on themselves – especially women. We keep going and giving even when there’s nothing left. Somewhere along the way, we learned that taking care of ourselves was selfish and self-centered. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth.
It’s not selfish, it’s self-preservation. When you take the time to nurture and care for yourself, you are actually in a much better position to help others.
It’s important to make your health, well-being, and sanity a priority. Understanding the difference between what brings you joy, purpose and passion and what actually pulls you away from your priorities is the first step to nourishing your soul. Although it seems superficial, taking the time to refuel yourself goes a long way. There is no question that you feel better when you take measures toward your own self care. Even a small step like getting a haircut, a massage, taking a nap, or sporting a new outfit can start the process of achieving balance and well-being.
Setting expectations for yourself is as important as having reasonable expectations for others, too. Get rid of the superwoman cape and allow yourself the grace to be human. No one, including you, is flawless; so expecting perfection is a set up for disappointment and a recipe for chronic stress and all it brings.
I just did a talk and that exact topic came up. I shared with the audience that for years, I’ve been testing women for stress-related issues and disorders through simple saliva testing, which shows what chronic stress does to us over the long term. While many of these women may look great on the outside, they’re paying a big price for all that perfection in the form of symptoms, illnesses, conditions, even disease… and I know that for a fact because I’m reading their lab results.
Also, so often we compare ourselves to what we see in others. We may look at another woman and think she looks great, has a fantastic job, great marriage, perfect kids, beautiful home, etc. Remember this. We’re seeing what others want us to see. I used this example in a video lecture I did just before writing this post. I explained that while I may seem like I have it all together as I’m speaking with everyone on the other side of the live video stream, they have no idea if I just screamed at my kids, my house is a mess, or what chaos may have taken place only moments before our session (and while it wasn’t totally chaotic in the moments before we started the session, it was far from perfect!).
When it comes to self preservation, here’s another question to consider. How aligned are you with your soul? Are you being true to yourself and following your path or have you allowed outside influences to pull you away from what’s most important to you? Do you take risks or are you continually playing it safe? Honoring yourself means following your Spirit – even if your ideas take you down a less conventional path. Assessing whether a decision takes you closer to or further away from peace, love and joy is an extremely useful tool as to how aligned you are with what’s most important to you.
Lastly, surround yourself with the right people. Do your friends build you up and make you feel loved, accepted and supported, or do you find yourself constantly having to defend who you are, what you think, and how you feel? Energy is transferable. Hanging out with energy vampires will bring you down and will deplete you physically, mentally and emotionally. Be with people who lift you up and who encourage you to grow and take healthy risks.
There is nothing selfish about honoring yourself. Having a healthy sense of self will enable you to have a life filled with joy, allowing you to have more to give to all within your care and reach.
Photo from here, with thanks.