When your emotions guide your life
When comes the need for more self-care, inevitably I can easily say now that there is a need for more self-love in the first place. I can tell this now because not so long ago, I did not connect the dots between the two. Let me tell you part of my story and you will understand why.
For as long as I remember, as a child and still until recently, there was one emotion I wanted to avoid as much as I could: fear. I know that fear would still creep in my life from time to time. Yes it could delay my course of action but never stop me though! After observing my elders’ many fears and witnessing how this had impacted negatively their life, I was to fight this thing with all my might.
My dad seemed to live either in the past or the future. He kept a lot of things, and yes some real physical ‘’stuff’’ to accomplish, read, and do for when he will retire, and then finally threw them away once my parents moved into a retirement home. I heard him talk so vividly about acts of courage and the vibrancy of his life as a young man.This was his story. It seems like his real self died when he committed to marry my mom.
My mother would see things with shaded glasses all the time. Her glass was always half full. There was never enough money to do this or that. Worry and anxiety were part of her daily life, (now not as much though, seems like aging polished a lot of her edges). It was so normal to me that it took a long time to realize and name this as anxiety. I thought she was just negative, stressed out by life, work, finances, and not very lucky in life. I became her best defendress!
Turns out there are a lot of things that she could have seen differently. We all do. When I say this there is no judgment; I am merely stating a fact. Now I know we have the choice to perceive things for the best. However, for the longest time, I unknowingly kept the same thinking process I had when I was a child; this had become a pattern, a habit. As a young child I saw one scenario: through their lenses.
As a young adult I discovered self-development books. What a treat for me! I was determined not to live in fear and in insecurity like they did. It would be boring and I may miss out on my life, I thought. By being so focused on what I did not want, I did not look around to realize that some of my fiercest decisions were made out of fear of missing out or fear of living in fear! All this time, until in my forties, my focus could have been on fear’s opposite emotion: love.
I am sure we can all testify with similar stories of ours. I thought I was in charge and in some sense I was. I made tremendous progress during those last 20 years. However, I still did a lot of things based on fear without knowing. The point I am bringing up here, is that we need to constantly create time for introspection so we can redirect our lives as we discover ourselves and our values, in order to keep walking in the only path that will brings us happiness, ours.
Now, please take a break from the screen and go grab a pen and a piece of paper. We will do a quick one question exercise. Do not ponder too long on the question, just let the words that come to mind to be written on your paper without analyzing them.
If you were to list the emotions that rule your life what would they be?
If you want to get further in the process you may want to know why, where this came from. For me personally, it helps tremendously releasing the trauma. Be mindful not to be over pensive though as it moves you away from taking a direct action to create a new life for yourself. You can start by being aware when those emotions surface and find a new sentence or affirmation to positively phrase what is felt, and thus change your experience in the moment. For those of you who work with essential oils and emotions, this is where they come into play. Associating multiple senses multiply the effect of any action. Furthermore it has been scientifically proven that the sense of smell is the one that retrieve the oldest memory.
If we would refer to the self-care assessment as we did in the previous blog posts, you would have a list that looks like this:
- Spend time with others whose company you enjoy
- Stay in contact with important people in your life
- Treat yourself kindly (for example, by using supportive inner dialogue or self talk)
- Feel proud of yourself
- Reread favorite books and see favorite movies again
- Identify comforting activities, objects, people, relationships, and places, and seek them out
- Allow yourself to cry
- Find things that make you laugh
- Express your outrage in a constructive way
- Play with children
- Give myself affirmations, praise myself
- Love myself
As you can see I want to help you dig deeper, even though applying any of these suggestion is an amazing start. By understanding why we don’t do some of these items on our self-care list, we are getting closer to creating sustainable habits, routines or rituals to incorporate what would be beneficial. This will be the subject of a post to itself. For now, let’s say at least that logging in a journal when you skip reading the book or playing with your children and what was the reason for not doing it may help you discern some patterns and correct the course.This is one simple, effective and easy way to bring consciousness into our self-care.
How about we put our focus on a few subjects fear, self-love, setting boundaries and creating a support system or team.
Fear and Love
I could write many articles on fear and still would have a lot to say about it. What I have learned that was the most beneficial piece is that the opposite emotion is love. Love, along with joy, is said to be one of the highest vibration on earth. Every time we do something out of fear we are subtracting love from the equation, is isn’t it sad? By bringing more mindfulness and consciousness into our daily gestures and life, we can have an enhanced experience of love and joy. It is a lot about making a conscious choice to think and live differently, to cut the negativity, to turn our back on the false belief from our childhood and create a brand new positive experience for ourselves.
By slowly moving up into the highest vibrations, self-love will show up more, without any doubt. In the present moment it is all about creating conscious positive thoughts about ourselves in order to feel more joy. Believe you deserve it! As you live more often in higher state of vibration, you create higher vibration for you to be in. The perfect vicious cycle! Also the opposite is also true. This is why we are attracted or distancing ourselves from certain people. It is all about how we all vibrate!
Setting boundaries and creating around yourself a community of support
At first these two statements in the same sentence may seems contradictory. Life is about starting all over again so we need to deal with darkness and light, motion and motionless, yin and yang, etc. Both opposites have their importance in specific circumstances. It is all about balance!
I have learned this year to say no. How bad I felt at first, letting guilt creeping in! Now I feel so good about it because I know that when I say no, I do it mindfully, not to hurt someone else, but rather in order not to hurt myself more. Nobody can give from an empty cup anyway.
Now, write this down and place it in your planner or on any visible helpful place so when you are about to commit to something you make sure you took a good look of the impact on your life before stepping in. Saying no to others means saying yes to me! Now because you are starting this new habit for yourself how about rewarding you by doing something you love for 15 minutes? Chances are it will prompt you to say no more often. And if you’ve stepped in and said yes too soon, it is not too late to retract yourself and explain in plain truth. I bet that by modeling it with your behavior you will help someone learn to say no too!
On the other end of the spectrum we also need to balance this out with asking for help. If you are the kind of person who gives a lot and rarely let yourself receive, you are creating a perfect terrain for un-ease, and further on, dis-ease. Human beings are interdependent, remember. We can’t do it all on our own! Again self-love is about being able to see our limit and ask for help. Look around at your family members, close friends and community members. Think who you can ask for help and what you can ask for help with. If you have once given help for a friend who asked for help, it should be easier to reach out and ask them when in needs. As we learn to setting healthy boundaries and rely on our support system or team, we will be taken better care or our emotional self.