Updated: Jul 28, 2020
Sometime last year I was challenged with this question and I thought about how important it was for me to honor my word. However, I fail far more than I desire and I think this is because I was always the first person with whom I broke promises. Consider the last time you made a conscious decision to prioritize a healthy diet or fitness plan, but then couldn't work it into your schedule. Do you just hope an hour opens up in your day, or do you put your needs and prioritizes first? This is a huge insight into where you need a self-care upgrade.
Are you in Need of Extreme Self-Care?
Do you find yourself resentful, as much as you hate to admit it? Do you fail to ask for help, assuming that if others cared, they would recognize your need and offer it? Do you feel as if you are typically the one giving in relationships, or that you just don't often have needs? Do you feel as if you carry the mental load at home, or even the work load? Outside of entertainment, do you know what brings you #pleasure? Do you spend time investing in yourself? Are you able to relax in stillness? Do you just wish people would acknowledge all you've sacrificed for them? Do you absolutely hate disappointing others? Do you have health concerns that you put off because you just don't have time to address them? Do you have an irregular sleep schedule or never really wake feeling rested? Do you often feel overwhelmed, tired, or stressed? Have you ever fantasized about escaping your life and starting over somewhere else?
Self-care is Not Taking Warm Baths & Getting a Massage
It's even so much more than telling people no and setting healthy #boundaries. Its about building self-esteem, knowing your rights, honoring your body, knowing who you are through self-study, and enjoying the time you invest in yourself. Self-care is about filling your cup with good things, so you can give good things to others from your overflow.
When you feel taken advantage of and even a bit resentful and bitter, it is easy to remind yourself that you give because you want to help others and really don't want anything in return, but this isn't simply about the state of your heart. Often these feelings come because you are taking from yourself to serve others, you are sacrificing what should not be available to anyone else. Our temples must be our priority so when we do give and serve, it is from love.
What Are Your Rights?
When one becomes so disembodied that they lack self-compassion, feel overwhelmed and stuck, in my experience, there also seems to be a complete inability to articulate their rights. This is a vital aspect of self-care as it helps to identify healthy boundaries. Can you identify your rights? I challenge you to write them down.
An example of a right might be that you have a right to eat in a way that nourishes your body. This requires the time necessary to create a meal plan, shop throughout the week, and prepare your meals. If you aren't capable of achieving this and find yourself eating out because you are unprepared, or eating convenience foods because you haven't proper time to cook, then this alerts you to the need to reevaluate your commitments.
Another example might be the right to sufficient fitness for maintaining optimal health. Again, having no time to achieve this in your schedule is indication that your basic needs are not being met. Try making this your first priority of the day. Before anything else is achieved, make yourself the first promise you fulfill. Then everything else you accomplish is excess!
Your rights also include being spoken to with respect. If you are in a relationship where you find yourself teaching someone basic human decency, then your continued forgiveness dishonors your own rights. Your empathy has become pathologic.
Keeping Promises to Yourself Requires Living Authentically
Many of us though reach a point where we are fooling others and even ourselves about how we really feel. We might try quick fixes, even healthy eating and exercise, but what we need is a transformation. Optimal health is about wholeness. Our hearts are an important part of this work too. We have to dig within and examine who we are and what we need. What is truly #authentic to who we are and am I willing to step up and protect myself, become the best version of me?