Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does. It is up to you to give [life] a meaning. ―
I often write of the connection we have with others and the earth, but what of the connection to ourselves? As we mold and practice the way we want to live our lives, how can we cultivate a deeper relationship internally? Some of us are dedicated to this internal relationship and maintain it with fervor. Others among us struggle to prioritize ourselves, and others still, have only a vague sense of what may truly satisfy.
If we are meeting our own needs and taking care of ourselves, we are healthy, we feel well. But what about when we don’t feel right? Bad days are bad days and we move on from them. The same goes for a difficult week. But when you feel truly stuck, there is no alternative to looking in. Being stuck is an indication that something in your life needs to change and since you are the only one capable of changing your life, you’ve got to begin there, with yourself.
In adulthood (as well as in a good number of childhoods), there may be no one to remind you to take care of yourself, let alone lead you to knowing how. You must come to this practice on your own. The best thing about this type of work is it can look like anything you want it to.
Heads up, if you are feeling resistant to exploring this, your resistance may be an indication it is something you need to examine within yourself. If you are out of practice, it can seem daunting. Stick with it, the more times you do anything the easier it becomes.
Here’s a place to start:
Can you name three activities that make you feel right? Help you feel like yourself?
When you are going through a really tough time, can you identify a handful of surefire ways to make yourself feel better?
Off the top of your head, can you name a few aspects of life that you could really stand to work on? That you would really like to improve?
Can you think of ways that you nurture yourself when you feel depleted?
Does any of this matter? When we are taking care of ourselves, we have no expectation that others will take care of us, we also have no need for it. When we are personally responsible for ourselves, when others do take care of us, we can receive it as the wonderful gift it is. How empowering and freeing to know that we can care for ourselves. What happens when we meet our own needs and have no requirements of our relationships other than to connect as we are?
In this time where the term self-care is used more as a marketing device than anything else, look in and check in. Take up the work. The biggest changes begin with ourselves.