Do you feel guilty when you focus on self-care? When you actually put your needs in front of others? I used to for a long time and even when I heard the comparison of putting our oxogen mask on first while in a plane before others, I still didn’t put myself first. Until I had twins as a single mother.
I hate being moody. I get mad at myself whenever I am in a funk, not giving myself permission to feel sad, unmotivated, or just plain cranky. Pema Chodron, beloved Buddhist teacher and author, says “having compassion starts and ends with having compassion for all those unwanted parts of ourselves. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” Not giving myself the room to feel the whole breadth of emotions in life is not giving myself compassion. I’m pretty good at giving others compassion especially when they are having a rough time, but not myself.
An important part of self-care is setting boundaries. A self-care practice includes arranging your life to support your needs and to increase your happiness. One of my favorite exercises that I learned from Cheryl Richardson’s book The Art of Extreme Self-Care is about creating your Absolute No List.
Moments that I feel most energized, inspired, and alive are when I am having conversations and spending time with like-minded people. I love spending time with people who are interested in the same things as me, those who are seekers, aren’t judgmental, and who are on a spiritual path. For me, these relationships help to make me see my place in the world in a deeper way, bring me joy, and make me enthusiastic for things to come. These relationships and moments spent with “my tribe” are a major source of self-care for me.