I decided to look inward and truly take my self-care practice seriously about two years ago. Since then, I’ve gone through so many ups and downs with my journey — highs where I felt I was finally making headway to becoming a “better person,” and lows in which I cried to myself about why I couldn’t just change. It took me a while to come to terms with the fact that, self-care isn’t about changing who I am, it’s more so unearthing my greater potential, sense of self / purpose and learning — instead of beating myself up, over past mistakes. The road to doing so hasn’t been an easy one filled with seamless meditation, feel-good therapy sessions and miracle clay masks. Instead, I broke down, sometimes more than once, in order to heal and build myself back up.
What’s important to keep in mind is that self-care isn’t one size fits all and encompasses so many different aspects of one’s life. For me, my self-care is in nurturing my mental and emotional health, coupled with pampering and beauty routines. For others it may be navigating personal financial stability (which I also need to add to my list, ha!), or honing in on physical fitness. Nevertheless, it isn’t always an easy path, and that’s okay.
There have definitely been moments in my journey where I look at others on social media who just seem so “zen” and “ethereal”, like they’ve got all the secrets to life figured out, and I’d envy them. Hell, I still find myself feeling that way from time to time. But it’s important I remind myself that the path I’m on is designed specifically for me, whether certain moments are good or seem bad. I say seem because often times we (myself included) automatically perceive tough moments as bad, rather than taking a step back to see the lesson or enlightenment in them.
For me, the most effective therapy sessions are not when I come in and discuss how happy I’ve been feeling lately, they’re when I come to a realization about myself or my past that moves me — often times to tears. When I open up a part of myself that I pushed so far back and deep down inside because it was linked to some sort of trauma, and instead acknowledge it. I try to understand how it shaped me the way it did, choose to have true closure and propel forward. Real lasting healing happens when we embrace the uncomfortable and difficult times. I now know that I am not bad and need to change, but actually it’s a past experience that has impacted me to feel or be this way in the present.
I am learning to connect with that part of myself that was negatively effected by certain situations and nurture her. Bring her back to life by acknowledging the things that caused her to retreat instead of running from them. It’s hard at times, it’s scary, but it has been so worth it.
Photo of me by: Jarrod Anderson