The secret to being empowered is learning NOT to beat yourself up.
So what exactly is Self-Care? It seems to be one of those Millennial buzzwords that gets everyone talking, but no one quite seems to explain what it is or how it can be accomplished. The term itself is actually pretty broad and practically encompasses anything good that you do for yourself. In my definition, it is the act of being kind to yourself and practicing healthy coping mechanisms that allow you to step back, break away, and replenish yourself mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically, respectfully.
Self-care involves the integration of self-compassion. This is exemplified when we show compassion for ourselves and encourages our self to acknowledge our flaws and limitations, by allowing you to look at our self from a more objective and realistic point of view. It’s all too easy to be extremely tough on ourselves; we need – at points – to get better at self-compassion. Here is an amazing video for The School of Life about Self-Compassion:
For much of my early life to mid-twenties I strived to work harder and aim to be the best. While there is nothing wrong with desiring to be the best; most of what I was considering to be my goals was the fuel to my happiness and sense of self. I suffered trying to strive to be infallible and retain positions at the top, and when I “failed” at the goal I would be accompanied with anxiety and later depression. Yet, I continued to sweat, struggle, and strive to accomplish, yet never was able to enjoy it or feel satisfied. There always seemed to be something wrong or “I could have done better”. After hitting what felt like rock bottom in my career and health, I quickly came to terms that is impossible to be better than everyone at all times. I was completely miserable trying to out-do, out-shine, and was highly self-critical, adding more to my misery. When faced with criticism I became defensive and felt crushed; any mistake or failure made me insecure and anxious. After observing my self-esteem, I began looking for an alternative, in a way this was like my awakening to finding myself. I went on a journey to seek my needs and the who, what, and why of myself. I had quit my job, actually left my career, and began the search for me. As glorious as this may sound, it was a very trying and uphill battle-but I stuck to the process. I came across several books and articles about self-compassion and through the healing arts of mysticism and incorporating different paths of spirituality I found within the value of me. I stopped judging myself negatively and adopted a more balanced approach that did not leave me feeling powerless and distraught. Self-compassion is learning to be your own best friend and even a mother to yourself. It taught me the true meaning of empowerment, patience, learning, and inner strength.