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Self-care can seem like a fun word to show off in an Instagram post, but do you really know what it’s about? We are running from one thing to the next. The realization that caring for yourself is an important part of being able to give to others can hit hard if you’re not practicing it daily. An analogy that resonates with me is the visual of a glass cup that is desert dry. If you are completely empty you have nothing left to give. If the cup is lavishly full and even pouring over with cold water, there is ample to give in abundance.
For years, I ran close to empty; like a car sputtering just before running out of gas. I would give and then give more without considering the impact that my energy is a finite resource. The nagging voice of perfectionism compelled me to push harder. I couldn’t stop until everyone around me was happy; until I had sacrificed it all. I thought I was being selfless.
It was never enough. Each step forward was heavier than the last, inspiration for creating became sparse, my body went into autopilot as I forced it into submission, and my soul became faint as I reacted to life out of fear. Adding more items to my check-list chiseled down the gifts I have to give to the world.
There is a place for hustle and hard work, certainly! This place is quite different from the place of finding your worth through your to-do list. Hustle comes from a place of patient excitement to get your beautiful work into the world. It shines a light on the messy places of life and empowers you to make a change. Hustle takes into account that life has a chaotic balance of rest and work. It honors the fact that our brains need inspiration, our bodies need rest, and our soul needs space to breathe.
Within the moments of our everyday lives, we learn valuable lessons that make us who we are. Lately, I have been learning about self-care. So, what is self-care to me?:
– It’s learning to enjoy the present moments. Slowing life down the pace of life to celebrate little things.
– It’s learning to be unhurried by spontaneous hospitality. Have you ever had a friend stop by unannounced? Or had a sibling call who just needed to talk? Or maybe you’ve become instant friends with a stranger you met at Starbucks? Taking in these moments, rather than pushing the opportunities aside, can open doors for meaningful relationships.
– It’s learning to allow deep healing to take place. The process of allowing wounds to be mended is not easy. It takes patience with yourself. You have to slow down enough to become aware of those places that need healing and to let God work.
– It’s learning to appreciate what your body does for you. Your body is truly amazing! When you take a quick inventory of where you go and what you’re able to accomplish through your day, it’s worth appreciating and treating well.
– It’s learning to discover what fuels your soul. Be curious and try new things. Don’t let fear get in the way of asking yourself hard questions. You never know what you might really have fun doing. Allow yourself to be artistic without judgment. Creativity is in all of us.
Self-care is about a core human need. Giving out of an overflow of your soul, not sucking the last drop from the glass, is what we’re made to do. Bubble baths and massages can be part of self-care, but it’s so much more. It’s caring for yourself as you would for others.
Question: What have you learned about self-care recently? I’d love to hear about your adventures below.