I’m fascinated by the games we play. Words especially have built-up meanings that only we ourselves understand.
Read these words:
How do you feel deep inside as you work your way through the list? Are some words more uncomfortable than others?
Now say them aloud.
When I first started paying attention to the concept of self-care, I was surprised at how controversial the subject is.
- Some say self-care is everything. It’s what helps you be the best YOU you can be.
- Others say self-care is selfish. Putting yourself before others is nothing short of narcissistic.
I, of course, resonate with the former.
If you don’t feel your best, how are you supposed to give your all to anyone around you?
Self-care isn’t selfish. It isn’t indulgent.
It’s required for good living.
Where self-care starts
Depending on who you ask, self-care rituals can contain everything from simple to complex. Lighting a candle can trigger a sense of peace. Spending five minutes in meditation can help reduce your stress.
But it’s not the mere act of putting these rituals into place. Declaring several minutes or even hours a day “your time” isn’t self-care. True self-care has the desire to tune into your body and find out what it really wants.
That means going deep. Asking yourself important questions. Often, getting uncomfortable answers.
And ultimately, growing as a person.
Self-care is about touching every part of who you are. Not just looking good on the outside, but feeling good on the inside. Really focusing on what “feeling good” means to you.
Which leads me back to the concept of being uncomfortable. To really go deep, it requires you to stretch beyond what’s comfortable. You have to stretch and find out who you are in this world. The WHOLE you. Even the parts you might not discuss.
How to get comfortable on another level
In one of Lee Harris’ meditations, he says to glide your hands over your belly, rub your belly, feel your belly.
The first time I did it, I almost giggled. I was alone meditating one morning, and plugged into his meditation for the first time. “Rub your belly,” he said softly during one of his meditations.
Feeling silly, I put my hands on my belly, then looked around. I was alone in my room, and yet it still felt uncomfortable.
Hearing his words, pressing my fingers gently to my belly, I felt something. That simple touch created a change in my mind, sent energy to a place I’d never thought about much before. I felt this tiny “zap.”
So I listened to the same meditation the following day. And the morning after that.
Getting braver, I let my fingers roam, touching, feeling my hips, my thighs, my legs, my toes. The energy I felt through the simple act of gliding my fingers across my skin was a rush.
I challenge you to do this yourself. Sit on the floor, take your hands down to your feet, or as far down as you can reach. Glide them up over your calves, your shins. Move them over your knees, behind. Rub them over your thighs. Zip your fingers up your sides. Hug yourself, moving your hands up and down your arms.
Do you feel it? Do you feel the energy?
Touch is everything.
Touch is also something we’ve all missed in these last two years. Longer.
Yet were creatures of touch. We literally need it to survive.
When it’s not there, we fail. Sometimes in ways we can’t even recognize.
Are you comfortable with this process?
Let’s push further.
Self-care, self-worth, eroticism, and feeling good in our own skin
As women in midlife, a vast amount of us are plagued with the “good girl syndrome.”
We’re people pleasers. We were taught from an early age to put everyone else’s needs before our own. And certain needs … well, good girls simply don’t go there.
Sure, times are changing. But we still oscillate between the two sides of ourselves, trying to figure out just what’s possible. That’s where we come up with these crazy ideas that when self-care means candles and mantras, it’s okay, but going further? Good girls just don’t. And it confuses the hell out of a lot of us. (Have you seen On The Verge on Netflix? I’ve laughed so hard at this very on-topic show.)
Esther Perel says it well in her article on building an erotic self-care plan.
Desire and self-worth go hand in hand. In order to want, we need to feel deserving.
Way too often we don’t feel attractive, we can’t imagine that somebody else sees us with different eyes than the way we see ourselves. And we certainly don’t feel like we deserve their sensual torch or our own, for that matter.
Does it come from the world telling women they “need a man to complete” who they are? Possibly.
But being told that over and over again as we grew was bound to have a lasting impression.
Self-worth comes from within. Part of that means going deep, and figuring out every aspect of who you are and what you like.
Is it scary? Definitely.
This isn’t something that you have to do overnight.
Yet consider this your starting point. Don’t shy away from questions. Ask more instead.
That’s how we grow. That’s how we change.
That’s how we become more than we are today.