Why Is Self-Care Important? To Flourish, You Need To Nourish
Our state of mind defines every relationship in our life. So why not make looking after self-care a priority? We may not like what we see in the mirror, but there's no point arguing with the reflection. Self-care is an important first step in taking back control of our lives.
Want to know what our biggest problem is? We think we shouldn't have any.
Yet problems are what make us grow. Problems are what shape our soul. Problems are what make us become more.
If we can realize that life is always happening for us, not to us, life becomes one long opportunity. All the stuff holding you back is actually your biggest catalyst of change.
Your problem is your gift. If I didn't go through the shit I did, I wouldn't have the drive I do. I'm far from perfect, nor am I aiming for that. I wake up and compare myself to the person I was yesterday.
To break the patterns I unconsciously adopted over a lifetime, I take baby steps that challenge my limiting beliefs. I've learned to do that by treating life as an experiment. My drive comes from an obsessive curiosity to uncover what makes me tick.
We need a willingness to hold a torch to areas many of us seal off because we fear what lies in the darkness of the unknown.
My experience with depression is something I wouldn't wish upon anyone. I had days where I was afraid to go into the kitchen because I'd have these vivid thoughts of opening a drawer, pulling out a butcher's knife and pressing it to my chest, just above my heart before plunging it deep into my soul. That felt like a solution.
And it makes sense why. I had a toxic relationship with myself. I didn't believe I was worthy of the love of anyone, much less myself. I felt like a fake and masked it with a life of partying that numbed the pain and provided a way to cope. Powerlessness seeped into my entire life.
Being introduced to therapy took me outside my snow-globe perspective of self-loathing. Shattering the tiny world I lived in to pieces. It gave me a reason to live, a desire to thrive and a willingness to be vulnerable. That shift of perspective allowed me to be open to a diagnosis of Type II Bipolar. I was able to accept help because I felt worthy of the love of others. I found myself taking five different medications a day, but I saw the world in colour for the first time since I was a kid.
My problem became my gift. I don't want to give the impression that it was smooth sailing at that point. It took years of continuing to fall and get back up before I could feel the way I do today – which in all honesty is a continual struggle with many of the same thoughts, but I've taken the steps to break those patterns.
I am not my thoughts. I experience them in the same way as I take in a sunset, as a mindful observer. I can't control the moment, but I can choose how to respond. And so can you. Mindfulness allows us to live life fully. Fully aware, fully awake, fully alive.
I don't have any special powers or tools that aren't readily available to everyone. The difference is, I choose to use them and invest in my future self. I saw what my world could be like and I have the comparison of today, where I built a mindset to weather the storms.
My self-care is the most important thing I do. I work out four times a week, and for the last two years I have meditated twenty minutes a day. I write in my Daily Stoic Journal. I also reflect on three things I'm grateful for each day, and I flip through the countless pages of why I have a reason to live. I further track my mood at random times through the day using the app Pacifica.
Again, what gets measured gets managed. It helps me identify patterns, like not enough sleep, too much caffeine or ignoring the signs that tell me I'm pushing too hard and that I need to take time for my self-care.
I eased off medications with the help of my doctor, to the point where I no longer take any. But I don't see medication as a sign of weakness. I would not hesitate to go back on if I saw the quality of my life start to suffer. I plan my days with a level of awareness and intention. Life no longer feels like a shaken snow globe, where you just don’t know where the pieces will settle. I used to feel like life was happening to me. Now it happens for me.
I'll continue to have some problems. We all will. Will you choose to continue seeing them as problems, or are you open to seeing them as opportunities? Your problem is your gift.
My personal development Coaching program Simplify Your Why rose from embracing my problems. It shone a light on my gift and instilled a sense of purpose. Many of us need a torch to lighten the path so we know what the next step is. I now work with others who seek to reduce the amount of stress in their lives by helping them bridge the divide to a meaningful life. My aim is to help others uncover their own gifts.
Whatever your gift is, the world desperately needs it. No one else can give what you have. Identify what kind of support you need and get it. Try it on your own if you like, but if you want to see long-lasting results, get the help you deserve.
Depending where you're at in your journey, that could be a therapist, or if you're further along the path, a Coach to help you thrive.
It's not rocket science, unless you're trying to build a rocket. What seems impossible or hopeless gets a hell of a lot easier when you open yourself up to asking for help. A day worrying about what could happen, should happen or might have been is a day missed.