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“Just take a five-minute break!”
My gut is gently nudging me toward self-care, which I am ignoring.
I just need to finish this one email. My eyes blur as my left temple starts to lightly pound.
Ding! My phone lights up with a text. I see the name and instantly feel stress.
Okay, okay, just calm down.
I put my computer to the side and feel an instant flood of relief to my tummy. Something loosens and then—the bottom falls out. My head is now hosting a full-blown drum circle that beats and bangs, my heartbeat echoing in my ears. I notice how dry my mouth feels.
“There is no place to get to,” my teacher’s voice floods my memory. “There is no one you have to be and nothing you have to do. You are already divine.”
I take a hearty breath and release it through my mouth, letting my tummy soften even more. Her words bring me peace and comfort. I feel my mind begin to relax back to a sense of sanity.
Conditioning and our attachment to it are like second nature. Enlightenment is a state we will go in and out of all day. Finding the sweet spot of recognizing when we fall back into a habit (our conditioning) and gently calling ourselves home (enlightenment) is a dance we will practice each moment of the day.
Generational conditioning is a bit sneakier. We can point out our habits fairly easily—we’ve been doing it all our lives. But the deeper and more systematic conditioning tends to hide in plain sight. It is our beliefs about our worth on a societal and collective level, which affect our survival instinct and triggers.
Most of us, especially women, have been programmed to view self-care in the same way we view selfishness or self-aggrandizement. I would argue that selfishness and self-aggrandizement are symptoms of not recognizing when we need self-care, and so, the pendulum swings in the other direction, creating a vibe of separation and dissonance.
Many of us worry about becoming selfish if we practice self-care, but in reality, it’s quite the opposite. Once we have fulfilled our own needs, we can care for those we love better and with more generosity, patience, and compassion. Why? Because we have given those to ourselves first. We’ve created that vibration, and now, we can share it.
I’ve noticed 10 unconscious ways I deny self-care throughout the day. When I ignore what I need, I feel it, and it affects everything I experience that day.
As we do one thing, so we do all things. I understand this phrase in a way I have never comprehended before.
Here are 10 unconscious ways we deny self-care:
1. Not taking a break (even five minutes) when we need it.
2. Waiting too long to eat or drink water.
3. Knowingly eating foods or drinks that upset our bodies and minds.
4. Not asking for support or a helping hand when we need it. (Support doesn’t always look huge—sometimes, it’s asking for help bringing the groceries in or letting your friend know you need to change the time of your coffee date).
5. Not asking a question when we need clarification.
6. Being wishy-washy about boundaries—large and small.
7. Forcing ourselves to run errands or perform tasks that don’t feel right timing-wise. (Remember: divine timing is precise—a few seconds can change our entire lives).
8. Pushing an agenda for our relationships, careers, or children, that doesn’t feel good.
9. Critical and judgemental self-talk.
10. Denying or rejecting a reaction, feeling, or energy that wants our attention.
Remember: enlightenment is a state of being we will flow in and out of all day long. We are not failing as spiritual seekers or human beings if we are not floating in a blissful bed of clouds hour after hour. We still live in a reality with a body and an ego consciousness.
Take everything moment by moment. That is all any of us can do. Life is experienced right here, right now. The past and the future do not exist, except in our minds.
When you feel sucked back into the chaos of ego consciousness and conditioning, choose one small action to reconnect you to your body.
Drink a glass of water or do some stretches.
Use self-care as a gateway back to your sense of home, whatever that feels like for you.