Once upon a time, I stopped brushing my teeth, I didn't care about my body, and I didn't even bother to go to the beauty parlor. I was a mess. At the time, I believed I was trying to reach out for help. I did want someone to notice me and my poor state of health. But no one said a word. That left me feeling worthless.
But it wasn't they who was doing that to me. It wasn't their job to notice. It was mine.
Luckily, I had a friend who helped pick me up from that specatacle, but not until I actually asked for the help. Did I suddenly get wise? No, but I did reach a turning point.
It often takes a turning point--a wake-up call, if you will--before you begin to notice behavior that needs improvement. In times like these, when we choose to avoid our problems in the hope that someone will notice them instead, and pick up the pieces for us, we lose. It won't happen that way. We'll just be left waiting, and feeling more miserable by the minute.
If you've ever experienced moments like this in your life--and I'm asking you to be honest, even if it hurts--it helps if you can recall them and remember what that felt like. If you can do this, it will remind you what doesn't work. It will remind you that self care is about you taking care of you, not waiting for someone else to do it for you. Unless you're an invalid, unless you're in medical need of special care, this is not the direction to take in life if you expect to move forward.
When I stopped caring for myself in the hopes someone else would take over where I left off, I stopped living. I was perfectly capable of taking care of myself. I'd just chosen not to. I was continuing a cycle that had been taught to me as a young child, yes, that's true. But I wasn't a young child anymore. It was time I grew up.
Thank GOD that I did.
But, you know, I still have moments where I sink into that dark hole, where I find myself neglecting myself again. I can snap out of it now, but back then, I couldn't. Back then, I just dug the hole deeper and deeper. And when no one noticed me, I still kept digging. I had the energy to dig myself in, but not dig myself out.
That was an important lesson for me to learn. As long as I remember that energy can move both ways, negative and positive, I'll remember that I can turn things around. That's what I mean by turning an obstacle into an opportunity. Adversity has the ability to teach you something about yourself. You can either let it take over, or you can take charge.
If you're in a place right now where life just feels like it's not moving forward, and you feel powerless, remember that there is always an opposite effect. You can take back the power. Even if you've stepped so far backwards that you're in debt, that you're relationship is in trouble, that your job is on the line, you can turn that around, at least to the degree that you are able. But you must take that first step.
Just as I rode my bike in those early days, when I felt like I was nothing, I allowed myself to become something again--one mile at a time.
It all amounted to self care. Who was going to care for me when others weren't? I was. I am. I do. Even though I am never alone in this world as long as I have my spiritual leader--and for me that is, indeed, my GOD--there are times when the only person I can rely on is me. I ask you to be prepared to find strength in that. Find strength in the you that is capable, in the you that is worthy, in the you that you know you are.
That's a lot to think about in the week ahead. Please do.
All my best,