Well, Kids, the weather is doing its weird stuff again here in the Ozarks. Freezing temps at night and mid-50s during the day. Weatherman Ron says it’s going to be 71* on Christmas Eve. I’m not upset over this. A White Christmas is idyllic, but frankly, it all turns to slush here in about two days. I love the snow, but I severely dislike that muddy, slushy gunk it turns into once it starts to melt. I’ll be in Arkansas Christmas Eve into Christmas morning and plan to hit Coler trail for a brisk little walk. So excited.
This is a nice segue into our topic today, which is a little ditty about you and self-care. I realized I’m starting to recycle through some of my ideas because I wrote about self-care at this same time last year. But, to me, self-care isn’t something that goes out of style. After all, if you don’t learn to love yourself, then you can’t really love anyone else – not in a healthy way, at least.
So, grab that drink and settle in today. I want to share some of my revelations over the last year and how self-care has played a big part in that.
As I grow wiser (Ahem…older…) I am no longer afraid to ask a partner, friends, family, or co-workers for the space I need. As an introvert, I already like my alone-to-recharge time, but my specific personality type needs a bit more than other introverts. As a writer and a thinker, my brain is always on fire. Therefore, downtime is not only desired; it’s vital to my well-being. You may not be that extreme, but I still think you’ll glean some great points from today’s list.
Got that drink? Here we go.
1) Fix what needs to be fixed. Ask yourself what is stopping you from loving yourself. Sit with that answer and be prepared to make changes. I used to obsess about the number on the scale. Then I realized that my weight isn’t a reflection of who I am as a person. On the flip side, I also realized that I cared more about others than I did about myself – which kept me from scheduling time to plan to be more healthy. Once I realized that my time is a commodity and I am responsible for that time, I was better at scheduling a walk or a hike before anyone else ate up that block on my calendar.
2) Realize you aren’t perfect. No one is, so in tandem with that statement, stop comparing yourself to others. It can be so easy to look at someone with a really nice fancy house and feel intimidated by that. But you never know what kind of debt lurks behind the corner in that house. Newsflash: Instagram is make-believe. Besides, if you wait until you are perfect before you start to love yourself, you’ll be waiting a long fucking time. Amiright? So. Here’s what I recommend: Sit down in a quiet space and make a list of all the good and awesome things about you. Whenever you are tempted to beat yourself up for being imperfect, then pull out the list and read it OUTLOUD. You, Friend, are guacamole. Stop telling yourself you are free salsa.
3) Get to know yourself. Figure out who you are and what you want. Discover what you believe and understand what your values are. Never in a million years would I ever have thought that I like to build fires and camp in the back of my car. You couldn’t have convinced me two years ago that I would get excited about going to a shooting range. I made a bucket list last year and another for this year and just started working on the plan. Additionally, I made a list of what I wanted in a partner and surprised the shit out of myself with that one, too. If you don’t know who you are, you’ll be anything anyone says you are. If you don’t know what you want, you’ll let others tell you what you want. Don’t do that. I encourage you to be the author of your story and own the narrative before anyone else gets to do it for you.
4) Forgive yourself. This one’s tough, but it is essential. You need to let go of the past, let go of those evil deeds, let go of your shame. It’s effortless to look at your history and judge yourself. But you are judging yourself on a decision made THEN, but NOW you have new information. It’s absolutely unfair to do this to yourself. It’s like reopening a criminal case from the 1980’s except now you are armed with the science of DNA. You can get caught up in the “If I’d only known then what I know now” bullshit loop when you let yourself do that. Repeat after me: I made the right decision at the time with the information I had at my disposal. In other words, it helps no one for you to beat yourself up for a past decision while you are sitting in the present tense. The phrase “Lessons learned” is a real thing.
5) Practice self-care. You knew this was coming. Self-care isn’t all beach-front vacations and expensive food. I’m all for those, trust me, but it can be anything you do for yourself. Me? I’m just as happy in my mom-clothes, cuddled up with a smutty romance novel and cheap wine as I am by the beach. Add a handmade quilt and a fireplace and boy, howdy. This mama is one happy clam. I’d even say this is better than the beach because…well…sand. Blech. My point is: Self-love and self-care go hand in hand. Do what you need to recharge and treat yourself. Need some help? Here’s a list.
6) Don’t give up. Life will throw you a curveball once in a while, and yes, you might even catch that bastard right square in the eye. It will suck. It will hurt. It will definitely leave a mark. Take all the time you need to heal, and then…get up, dust off, and move on. You are the total sum of all the experiences you’ve ever had in your life. Don’t let that shit wear you down. Chin up, tits out. You got this.
I don’t know why this song is stuck in my head today. It’s about those who take risks and dance to the beat of their own drum. I think practicing self-care can be risky. Some folks don’t like it when you start putting yourself first. But I invite you to look them square in the eye, use your polite and calm voice and say “Go fuck yourself.” A riskless life is a life unlived. So, kiss the girl. Book that massage. Take the road trip. Eat dessert. Say yes to yourself.
PS…Thank you for reading. It makes my heart happy when you let me know if I struck a cord or two. If you liked this post, and feel others may like it too, then feel free to share it on social media.