Self-care is one of the most important tools to have and apply to our daily life. It can support us to become more intimate with ourselves and to build a foundational quality that we can stand on and live from. With a foundation of true self-care, we can bring that quality of stability and true support to everybody else.
We have learned from young to care for others but have we been shown how to self-care or even been encouraged to self-care? Yet, it makes sense that, if we do not care truly for ourselves, how can we possibly care for another?
When our daily demands weigh heavier on us than possibly ever before, the one thing that can truly support us is to start looking after ourselves and to deeply, deeply care for ourselves. This doesn’t mean to leave everything behind and not tend to our daily chores and tasks; it simply means to start honouring what we feel from our bodies and appreciating ourselves from who we are and not just what we do. This does not require a lot of time. It can be done in passing moments of reconnecting to and the honoring of ourselves in how we move throughout our day.
Honouring is not a word that is often used when we talk about ourselves, as it is generally a term for bringing ‘honour’ to someone else; for instance to your family name or heritage. When honour is referred to in terms of self-care, it simply means not to dismiss not only our basic needs and daily routine, but also the way we feel to do what we do for ourselves and the timing that this can take place. For instance, in the many small and often overlooked moments such as getting ready in the morning, getting out of bed, brushing teeth, taking a shower, getting dressed, eating, going to the toilet, driving in our car, etc. These small moments engaged with loving care can build us up to be a woman who looks after herself truly.
We can sometimes neglect our day-to-day movements, tasks and rituals by labeling and treating them as being unimportant, at times a nuisance and just things that have to be done. We do so many things in a day, but do we understand and feel the quality in which we do them? Do we go about our everyday tasks with true focus, love and care or by thinking about other things, rushing through and wishing to be done already?
What if the quality of these everyday details are what give us stability and steadiness in life and are in fact our rock we stand on no matter what comes towards us?
We can start by asking ourselves, do we honour ourselves when taking a shower in the morning? Do we honour ourselves when getting ready in the morning? Or do we just do it because it has to be done or we might even skip this part of our day completely because nobody will see us anyway? Are we honouring of ourselves so much so that we are worthy to get dressed and feel taken care of in the morning no matter what? Or do we see it only as a form of social conditioning, done for social approval but dismiss it when it is not ‘necessary’ or ‘only for ourselves’? How worthy do we see ourselves when we make basic self-care dependent on the situation we are in and not the inner standard of the love for ourselves?
You might say I do not have time for this. But this is exactly the point. It is the normal everyday things we dismiss. We may be putting more importance to our other duties, but not the love and care of ourselves, the human-being that we are and our own body, that is carrying out all the tasks that are asked of us, every day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
When we live like this, not honouring of ourselves, we present our body with the constant message that it does not deserve to be taken care of deeply. We also miss out on our own self-appreciation.
This can then throws us into a movement of constantly seeking external reward and recognition from others based on what we do. This scenario sets us up to leave out how preciously we can hold ourselves without any need for external reward.
And yet when WE start to deeply take care of OURSELVES and learn to appreciate ourselves truly, we automatically bring this same care and love to everyone around us and to everything we do.
Now, we cannot change our life from one day to the next, from not caring for ourselves to deeply caring for ourselves overnight, from ignoring ourselves to absolute adoration. However we can, step by step, begin the simple process of reconnecting and reapplying some focus to bring our movements back to the love and care we so very much deserve. We can find that our bodies are so very willing to come back to this, to the tenderness, lightness and agility that they naturally are, to the beautiful and sexy women that we all are.
A philosophical consideration to ponder on before we start is, if we do not love ourselves it is hard to truly honour ourselves as we are in the constant cycle of dismissing and making ourselves less worthy than we are. Allowing the possibility that one can love oneself, and deeply so, is something very possible and gives permission for us to go for it! So every time we wish for someone else’s love, attention, support etc. we can ask ourselves, is that something we can honour and thus apply to ourselves?
Practically we can start with what is most relatable to us, something that we love dearly, like getting our hair washed/done, or having our feet taken care of/massaged, wearing clothes that support us feeling beautiful and ready for the day, taking a shower or bath in our time etc. From this first step, we then simply start to apply it, possibly daily, and then allow ourselves to feel how it starts to nurture us. Then we observe how this nurturing does not stop but is a foundation we lay for our whole day, for ourselves to stand on and live from.
With every foundation we build we can bring focus to everything else we hold dear and really make it part of our daily routine, rhythm and the quality in which we do all that we need to do in our day. Every little detail counts, from how we tie our shoes to how we drive our car, how we apply our make up in the morning to how we hold ourselves in a meeting, and so on.
There is no end to the relationship we have with ourselves; it can always deepen. And the beauty is, the more settled we feel with and within ourselves, the more we are present and available for everybody else. We can see for ourselves that nobody misses out; in fact everyone greatly benefits from our personal journey.
Another important aspect in the re-claiming of living a self-loving quality is to not judge, be hard or have demands on ourselves in whatever we do, complete or not complete in the day. Instead, use the body as the reference point of how we feel and what is needed next. When we allow ourselves to listen more carefully to our bodies and treat them as our companions, we will find that there is a natural togetherness and ease in living with and in our bodies. This is the steadiness that we meet the day with, no matter what is going on around us; we can stay steady in the foundation of how we are with ourselves.
We learn how self-care is not dependent on time, it is simply our willingness to bring more focus to our bodies. This is supported by a willingness to break through the many beliefs we have about being a woman, what we have to do and shouldn’t do and most of all that we are not worthy of self-love and self-care. Our bodies clearly show us how self-care is natural, innate and something we all deserve.
Written by Esther Andras