It feels like every time I write a post reflecting on what I’ve learned the past year, I love using the words: life had another plan. Maybe it will be my famous last words?
My word for 2019 was ‘shine’ and to work on how I treat myself. And like I just hinted, my life was a different ball game this year. I was forced to dig deeper than I’ve ever had before and to look for strength I didn’t know I had – I’m still not sure if I found that strength. But that’s a TED talk for another time.
WHAT I CAN SAY IS…
When you go through a traumatic experience, you’re forced into survival mode. Once that survival mode comes to a halt, you’re catapulted into a new reality and you can’t help but wonder, “How did I get here?”
Suddenly, you have no idea how to live and move on. You despise the world around you that keeps on living while feeling like your world has come to a complete standstill. And let’s be clear on one thing: you don’t get over it. You just learn how to move forward with your ‘new baggage’.
Learning how to move on was only achievable through a lot of self-care and I want to say that I “quickly” learned this. But no. It first took regret, guilt, and denial because I kept asking myself why I wasn’t strong enough to deal with this on my own. Until I realised (with much help), that everything that was weighing me down, wasn’t mine to carry.
SELF-CARE IS NOT EASY
The thing about self-care is that it’s easily confused with being selfish. Why? Because self-care relies on boundaries and people don’t respond well to boundaries.
According to Prentis Hemphill, boundaries are the distance at which you can love yourself and others simultaneously. And the sad truth is, when you start to take care of yourself and assert these boundaries, someone is going to get upset. So I guess it is true. I’m not a pizza; I can’t make everyone happy – dang it, I really love cheese.
When this happens, I have to remind myself (again and again) that the only people who get upset when you set boundaries, are those who benefited from you having none. As much as others may think you’re being selfish, you have to take care of yourself first. Otherwise, you will have nothing to give.