The Secret to Authentic Self-care

China3
Close to Beijing, China on my 2016-17 Study Abroad Trip to China

Love myself they say; practice self-care they say; But, I mean, how does one do this? I hear messages from social media such as: Love yourself, Do your own thing, take the road alone. But, when I actually do this, I find myself in a lonely slump, feeling isolated, and blue. When you hear words such as self-care, self-love, you are probably stumped as I was, unsure of how to even approach this. You thought, “Maybe I can get a manicure, or get a new haircut or go to the spa!” Yes, these are some aspects of self-care, but let me tell you my beautiful people, self-care is not about pampering yourself. It’s not about getting a new hair cut, new clothes, or a creating a workout plan. No. Not at all. How can we go on our journey to a “new year, new me,” when we haven’t trained our minds to be ready for it? So you wonder, what is the secret to self-care then? Here is the secret ladies. A new conscious mindset. This means you have to pay close attention to the thoughts that come into your mind and looking within to answer all the questions you have.

 

Here are 3 things you can ponder on to discover more of yourself, in order for authentic self-care to blossom.

1. Learn to discern your individual self from your communal self

blogcydi
A painting at the Weisman Museum in Minneapolis. “It is when you realize You are Free, You are Good, then, you can finally see yourself for who you truly are.”

Let’s face it. We all have to take on roles, perform certain duties that may not necessarily serve us as an individual spirit. We are born into this world as a women, as a daughter, then we become students, mothers, care-takers, and then we enter the work force. Through all these roles, we are expected to act a certain way, contribute and help out the whole. This is an amazing thing and community is key to a thriving earth, but the community self becomes toxic when one loses their individual self in all this selflessness. Do not let norms, labels, roles, and the need to conform deplete who you really are. You will begin to chase temporary thrills to fill that emptiness. Imagine: What would you be doing if you were not tied to any roles? That is who you are. What would you be if nobody has influenced you to choose a certain path? When you were young, what were you interested in? This is who you are. Take some time if only 30 minutes a week to write down things you love to do. What are some things you love about yourself? Reflect on what excited you as a kid, when others’ views of you did not define you. What does your heart yearn for truly?

2. Slowing down time

gracy sumo
Enjoy the sky, the presence of a being like you, and just be.

Our society has turned up it’s gears into turbo drive where from a young age, our kids are going to school, joining sports, than doing homework, eating, sleeping then repeat. Adults overwork themselves through working their day job, taking care of their kids, paying bills, and always pondering if what they’re doing is right. People just seem to have no time to wind down and relax. Let me tell you, laying in bed and scrolling through Facebook is not exactly the kind of slowing down I was getting at. Even though you’re laying in bed, you’re occupying your mind with social media. When I mean slow down, I mean simply, do nothing. Sit with yourself and your thoughts in silence and allow yourself to just sit. This is extremely hard for some people as many people are uncomfortable with silence and being alone. Once you’ve mastered this art of slowing down time, and sitting in silence, you realize, the world is never really silent at all. There’s always this constant buzz and vibration in the air that calms you. Take a week to just walk your dog, take a walk on a path or visit the lake and just let your thoughts go.

Many times people stay busy because they don’t want to face something that’s eating at them inside, and becoming still and silent brings all those emotions out. And when they do, allow them to come out. Cry, get angry, and let all of it out. You will realize, you feel a whole lot better. You’ll get this beautiful sense of clarity and peace.

3. Say Yes to your heart and No to everyone else

Who are you truly? What were you meant to bring to this world? The sad truth is that majority of people are not listening to their own hearts. They listen to their parents, their peers, and the media. And that’s why so many people in this world are unhappy and chase temporary thrills to fill this emptiness they can’t ever fill through listening to others. That’s why people who work jobs for the sole purpose of money dread to go to work every day, that’s why people always feel burnt out by Thursday or Friday and always need a drink. If you feel drained by the work and activities you do it’s probably not what you’re meant to be doing. Become very still, and truly ask yourself, what do you want to do? Don’t chase what you think you’re supposed to do. Feel from within what you are meant to do. When you start doing what you’re meant to do, all those conflictions inside disappear, and you will suddenly feel this great sense of balance and rightness in your decisions. Follow that gut instinct of yours. It’s usually right.

I started to put myself first; I started to love myself; And I started to accept myself for who I truly was. Though everyone around me was asking me to join groups and do certain things, I had to be selective. I had to ask myself, Is this serving my purpose? It is okay to say no. It is okay to not do something. It’s not that you’re mean or lazy. You just have to conserve your energy for your purpose on this earth. Everyone was born to do different things, and when you begin to listen to yourself, you will begin to feel this great sense of clarity of who you are. It will become a whole lot easier to kindly reject people’s offers.

Good luck my beautiful people on changing your mindset, listening to your gut and heart, and observing your thoughts.

Wabi Sabi

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