Since the beginning of time, women have had an innate need to put themselves last. It has been ingrained into our DNA over thousands of years to be nurturers. We take the last slice of pie after everyone has eaten, we cancel that hair appointment to pay for our daughter’s ballet class, and we remain in the kitchen and wash the dishes while everyone else is in the living room enjoying a Sunday football game. This nature is needed; it is the backbone to a strong family. However, the question for ages has been to balance this with putting ourselves first.
We buy that new pair of shoes and we pay an extra 20 dollars for that gel manicure. Looking good so we can feel good is definitely a part of self-care. But if after that new hair style and new dress, we still feel empty on the inside, it is time to reevaluate our approach. In addition to physically, it is important to be aligned with ourselves spiritually and emotionally.
The first step is to truly evaluate where we are in these areas. See a therapist if needed! Staying in tune with yourself spirituality and emotionally is a powerful tool for self-care, but in conjunction with that, it is important to balance that with some expertise. Family and friends can provide great advice when dealing with life’s challenges but a professional that has been trained to seek out behavioral patterns that you cannot see for yourself will help you learn what makes you tick, what makes you upset, and put you in a state of awareness in which you will be able to alter your behavior.
Once your current state is assessed, continue to take the time to connect with yourself emotionally and spirituality daily. This means different things for different people. A lot of people find consolation in their religion. Many people connect with themselves spiritually through meditation or by reciting motivational self-reassuring quotes daily. Whatever that means to you do it, and do it consistently. Do you know what makes you happy? If so, when was the last time you did it? Those are important questions to ask ourselves and take action. Here are just a few of the several benefits of making self-care a part of our everyday lives.
#1. Others people’s actions will not affect you as deeply. No doubt that we are human, and we cannot pretend that other people’s actions will not affect us at all. But to learn to be happy despite what people do or say is an important key to happiness. Life will not always go the way that we want. People will not behave as we would like. Friends and family will disappoint you. To be able to take that in stride in a manner that does not destroy your happiness is worth the hard work of getting to that place.
#2 You will learn how to teach people how to treat you and put yourself first. Recommended reading to assist with this is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. One of many powerful quotes from this book include “the limit of your self-abuse is exactly the limit that you will tolerate from someone else...” If something bothers you, say it. If you don’t like how that outfit in the store fits, don’t rationalize it because you like the color. If your friends are going out and you would rather be in the house, don’t go. Learn to put yourself first sometimes, and over time, other people will respect that.
#3. You learn to forgive yourself for past mistakes and move forward. In other wise words from Don Miguel Ruiz, “The human is the only animal on earth that pays thousands of times for every mistake they make”. Once your dog chews your shoe, you slap them on the nose, and they are over it within a few minutes. The dog will not blame themselves for years for the destroyed shoe. We need to give ourselves that same courtesy and stop punishing ourselves and others countless times. Being in tune with yourself will allow you to turn your mistakes into learning experiences rather than burdens and to forgive others.
Working on yourself is hard work but well worth it. Peace of mind is priceless. Don’t be afraid to go after it!