Self-care means different things to different people. Of course, it implies the obvious: sleeping enough, eating well, exercising, following a passion or hobby, making time to be alone, doing what we love for work ( so it doesn’t feel like working), having a spiritual practice, etc. From my own perspective, self-care means being aware of my own emotional and mental state at any given time. This takes a lot of practice, intention and commitment. It requires one’s desire to peel off the layers of his/her own parental conditioning and “process of socialization”, as Teal Swan calls it in her videos. The rewards, instead, are very much worth it. Here are some examples of such rewards:
- less reactivity towards your partner or child’s off-track behavior. Why? Because you will have the understanding that their behavior is not a reflection of your own worth, but a cry for help that they can not express in any other way at that time;
- more patience with your partner or child when big emotions surface, such as fear, anger or disappointment. Why? Because you will have the capacity to accept their emotions as valid and real messengers that something does not feel good. When we teach our children to listen to their own inner guidance system ( their emotions!!), we give them the very foundation for a happy and healthy life;
- more curiosity about your own inner world. There is no end to our own self-awareness work. The deeper we go in, the more we need to go deeper. One thing I want to emphasize here is that we can only do this work with absolute non-self-judgement and unconditional self-love. Our history ( the bad, the good and the ugly) is nothing but a series of lessons. A loooooong school year. We just graduated and currently are in the phase of integrating the lessons, opening up to more love – for ourselves and the others- , and committing to our own personal growth and blossoming.
Now- you will ask me : how do I do this?
First, inquire within and find out if you are willing to do this work. It is not always “pretty”, and it takes the rest of your lifetime. If you answered YES, continue reading. If you answered NO, then stop reading. Come back to this blog when you are ready.
Second, I recommend you find one ( yes, just one!) spiritual practice that resonates with you; that makes you feel good. Options are endless: meditation, journaling, yoga, walking in nature, chanting, running, etc. The important thing is to BE ALONE with your thoughts and feelings for at least 10-15 minutes a day. Stay in that space with no resistance to you thoughts, no expectations that something “big” has to happen; just be with your own self. If you need more guidance and insights on this, I recommend Eckhart Tolle’s books and videos ( https://www.eckharttolle.com).
Third, and the most urgent one for all parents, find a listening partner with whom you can exchange listening time on a regular basis, at least 30 minutes a week/ each. For more information about how a listening partnership works, read this article from Hand in Hand Parenting: https://www.handinhandparenting.org/article/how-to-find-a-listening-partner/
Let me know what works for you. Happy 2019 ! With love and gratitude,