So. I'm sure by now many folks have asked themselves "why does she keep talking about self-care, of all the things". Well, the long and the short of it is that for me, self-care is personal. It's the thing that saved my life. Before 2015, I did everything in my power to be the perfect everything to everyone in my world. I rarely took time to actually take care of Angela. I often put myself dead last on my list, if at all. I was not well and I was not happy. Although from the outside looking in, I seemed to have it all together, my life was quickly falling apart. I had to shift my course quickly or I was going to totally and literally lose myself forever. Self-care helped me to do that.
Self-care taught me the importance of so many things. It taught me how to pay attention to what my mind, body, and spirit need and to hold space to respect those needs. It taught me that perfectionism is an unattainable ideal that I had to release, if I was going to find pride in who I am and reach my true potential. It taught me the importance of boundaries and the power of the sentence "NO". It showed me that happiness is a fleeting thing that can come and go with people and things, but that joy is something that cannot be shaken, even in the most difficult seasons. It helped me to practice unconditional acceptance of exactly who I am in each season of my life.
I've heard many times that the topic of self-care is being beaten to death right now. While I agree that it is being glamorized and monetized by social media and a capitalist society, the importance of understanding true self-care is invaluable. You see, most people think of self-care as the aesthetically pleasing activities that give us Instagram worthy shots. But, if I am blunt, self-care has absolutely nothing to do with the activity that you take part in. What exactly am I saying?? I'm saying to you that true self-care is about your state of mind...It has nothing to do with the activity, in the long run.
Self-care is the intentional, purposeful act of pouring love and attention into yourself. It is a state of mind and heart that allows you to be fully self-aware, practice total self-acceptance, and give yourself bountiful self-compassion. It is holding yourself accountable for your own actions and your well-being. It is forgiving yourself for your mistakes and releasing yourself from being held hostage, by self and others, for who you were in a previous season of life. It is practicing boundaries with self, others and the world. It is deciding that you are worthy of a life that is soft, restful, fulfilling and peaceful. It is standing fully and unapologetically in your truth. It is never shrinking yourself for anyone else's comfort and taking up as much space as necessary to live a life of purpose and passion. It is choosing you every single time, at all costs.
When you really boil it down, creating and maintaining a life that is all of those things has absolutely nothing to do with the pretty activities that we post on social media. We can plan all the spa days, get the best mani/pedi money can buy, take the most memorable vacations imaginable and still be filled with stress, anger, internal conflict, and burnout. When it boils down, we may find more peace of mind in moments of simplicity, like watching the sunset, cooking your favorite meal, listening to vinyl, lighting a mood shifting candle, meditating, or going for a walk as the sun rises, than any of those fancy activities. Why? Because we are choosing ourselves in the most simple, introspective ways.
Self-care has absolutely nothing to do with the activity, when we get down to the foundation of it. It has everything to do with the mindset behind it. It is not meant to bring you stress due to time and financial constraints. It is not meant to be a show for anyone else. It is not meant to be another task that you have to check on your daily to do list. It is meant to be a sacred vehicle for you to love and hold space for yourself. It is meant to be a constant practice that is woven throughout every moment of your life in the simplest, yet most impactful ways. It is meant to be you choosing you in whatever way holds the most value for your life. It is building the type of life that you don't need a break from and that allows you to better cope with the stressors that life will inevitably bring. It is having the ability to say this is my life, for all it's good and bad, and I am at peace in it all.
I charge you to get in the habit of practicing self-care. Take care of yourself, everyday, on purpose, with no guilt and full love. Self-care is not selfish. It is an act of self love, self preservation and self compassion. Just do it! As always, sending you all light and love.