Why is it that we find taking care of ourselves so challenging ? Why is it that we take care of everyone in our lives happily, attending to their every need, yet when it comes to us, we simply freeze? It’s too indulgent? There is not enough time? I don’t have enough money? I don’t really deserve it? What a waste of time.. And so the excuses pour out of us before we have the chance to squeak “What about ME“?
We are hearing a lot more about self -care and self love at the moment. They seem to be real buzz words at the moment. But what exactly IS self- care? And why is it so important?
Self care ranges from eating food that is nurturing, to moving your body in a way that feels good, to self rewarding and listening to your own NEEDS. It is about looking after yourself in a way you would a small child.
Imagine you have a kid, if you don’t already have one. You nurture them. You like to try to feed them food which will keep them healthy. You use kind words to them. You give them love and nurturing. You comfort them when they are sad and you praise them when they have done well at something. These are all pretty natural responses. Did you know WE ALLL have an inner child in us, craving all of that love and attention? Yet we tend to brush ourselves off and ignore many of our even most basic needs.
Imagine you continuously ignored that child. You ignored that child when it was sad, you ignored that child when he is feeling hungry, you ignored that child when he or she had done something fabulous at school. You give no praise, just lots and lots of criticism.
Of course that child would end up feeling sad, demotivated and possibly resentful. They would probably give up trying to please and end up wondering what the point is? They may even get quite rebellious in their little lives. I doubt they would be happy though.
If we treat ourselves like that, this is how we will end up feeling too. Sad, undervalued, depressed maybe and unmotivated, stressed or lacking energy.
Now please can you imagine if your self talk was really positive? Imagine you listened when you said you needed to rest and you did just that? Imagine if you rewarded yourself with something nice after you had done something good? What then? Do you think you might feel a little more respected? Valued? Motivated? Happier? Of course you would. Yes so many of us forget to do this.
It’s too self indulgent to care for myself? I don’t have the time….. Ok. I hear you. BUT let me ask you this. Think about the aeroplane analogy, what if you didn’t put your mask on first? What if you didn’t attend to YOU first? Do you think you could really help those in your life who you wanted to save ? Probably not. You would be too busy killing yourself.
Self care has not come easy to me. In fact it has been so far from my vocabulary for many years. Do you think bingeing and vomiting is self care? Do you think poisoning your body with lots of alcohol and cigarettes is self care? Do you think lots of poor self talk is self care? Of course not. Yet this was how I spent my life for many years. Hating on myself from a high height. Sad. Of course it made me feel depressed, and lacking energy and enthusiasm for life. I felt unworthy and undervalued and believing that I am NOT good enough.
Life is not like this for me anymore and SELF CARE is a massive part of the reason my depression is kept at bay these days. I love and respect myself enough now to look after most of my needs. If I am not looking after them, I soon know all about it. I soon know that I need to take some action.
Yesterday was a prime example. I had done something HUGE for me and with a dear friend, we ran our first event, The Butterfly Effect. It was awesome and I know it would have helped lots of people. BUT I missed a trick. I forgot to reward myself and I spent most of yesterday feeling flat and sad. Inner Amy had not felt that all her hard work had been acknowledged. I got up early and worked on my next plan… instead of doing something nice for myself.
So I asked myself what I needed today. I decided that I would go have a float session… This was awesome and I now having honoured myself I feel motivated and ready to go to the next level. I feel valued and listened too. I feel more balanced and feel loved BY ME.
We are ALL a work in progress and I would love to think one day we will be all sorted, but somehow I doubt that. We will probably always need to be thinking about how we are treating ourselves and really listen in to what is going on.
Please know this. If you take better care of yourself then those around you will BENEFIT too. In fact you will probably become a more positive influence in their lives. I want to know my children will look after themselves and put themselves first in their lives. I teach them daily about kindness and this is not just to others but also to themselves. They are far more likely to look after themselves if I am looking after myself. And I teach them that is not selfish either. I have no doubts my kids are very kind beings already.
If we make the change in the way we treat ourselves, others will follow suit. And that my friend…. Is the Buttefly Effect.