In celebration of my upcoming book, Selfcarefully, I’m sharing five of my favorite sections throughout December into early January. (Read more about how I wrote this book on metro rides and with lots of support here.)
Today is the last one so I wanted to make it special! In the essay, I discuss what to do if you didn’t have positive self-care role models growing up, and why practicing authentic self-care can have such a powerful effect on your self-esteem. I also touch on why self-care can bring up so many feelings! (Truly, it’s power goes very deep!)
I hope the message from this essay is clear. Even if you had hard experiences before, you have the power to change the abusive or neglectful patterns that you learned. You have the power to take responsibility for your life and forgive those who couldn’t care for you before (even if that means intense boundaries or total detachment). You have the power to become a positive self-care role model for those around you.
If you’re learning from and enjoying these reflective self-care missives, please consider preordering your copy of Selfcarefully by contributing to our crowdfunding campaign. We’ve raised more than $5000 with 18 hours left to go! Thank you all so much!
It’s been a pleasure to share “Selfcarefully” with you! I can’t wait to see the places it might go in 2019. I’ll keep you updated along the way and, as always, am so grateful for your support.
Self-care and Reparenting Yourself
After working with many women around their self-care, I began to notice a pattern. The women in the course would start to put themselves to bed earlier and wake themselves up with gentle, loving routines, like stretching their bodies or drinking a mug of hot lemon water. Then, a whole flush of emotions would come up about their relationship with their parents. As we worked through these feelings in the program, they began to find a lot of healing and sometimes even forgiveness. I began to realize that these women were reparenting themselves through self-care.
As I understand it, when we are young, our parents are responsible for all of our bodily and emotional care. Some of us got the good stuff—the patient, loving, fun parents. But others—like me—had the parents who were really struggling with their own lives and didn't always have a lot of extra care to give away. I certainly experienced love and care—but I also remember rushed mornings and conflict-ridden bedtimes. As an adult, I felt stuck in these patterns, and it seemed so hard to take care of myself, almost like it was wrong. When I finally pushed through the resistance and began caring for myself anyway, I gained more confidence. I realized that I could love myself, regardless of other people’s feelings about me.
And yes, with time, I've even begun to forgive my parents. I see now that they were just doing the best they could—and that I don’t need to repeat their patterns. Staying angry with them only holds me back from the love and joy I desire in my life. Growing up means I finally want freedom more than vindication. This has made my life so much richer on every level.
I'm always amazed by the healing that self-care opens up. When I see how much self-care helps me open my heart and enjoy my life, I feel inspired to take care of myself, no matter how hard it feels in the moment.