50 Roads #14 – The ROAD TO SELF-NURTURING
(Roads #11-17 are letters to myself for what I wanted to find in therapy – they are filled with questions that I invite you to ask yourself)
I know that one of my most pervasive and destructive beliefs has been that it’s selfish and unacceptable to take time to nurture and care for myself.
I want to do this deep work because my greatest joy is connecting with, learning from and sharing what I’ve learned from others.
And I deny myself my greatest joys when I fail to refuel my life-force because of the old belief that taking care of myself makes me a bad person.
I know that this belief has led to physical and mental health crisis’ way too many times to count. When I go on self-betrayal binges, in the name of “service and selflessness” I almost always end up on emergency missions to save my own life. These end-of-the-line situations require me to go so far inward that I have to be alone with myself for so long that I become an isolated hermit and I have to relearn how to be in society.
I have limitations. I hate that I have limitations, but I do.
I am ready to accept that although my work and my ways of being with others in the world is the best part of my life, it can quickly and easily become a coping mechanism, a way to avoid my own inner world and an unhealthy addiction.
I know that I do this. I know that this is the most ridiculous and inefficient and even destructive pattern. It’s humiliating and humbling to take a good hard look at how many times I have done this to myself, somehow believing that “this time” it will be different. Somehow believing that self-sacrifice is noble and right in all situations.
I want to stop doing it. I HAVE TO stop doing it. Only I can stop doing it.
I know that I have real and enormous fears that I will become a selfish and self-indulgent person — and therefore a completely unacceptable person. I know that there’s a part of me that finds this to be so unacceptable that I am willing to risk my present and future health to avoid ever becoming that. Yet, I push myself so far that the only way to recover is to stop everything and sequester myself. And then here I am, only able to focus on myself, just to stay alive. Here I am in an emergency self-focus — I have just created my worst fear.
This pattern is NOT OKAY WITH ME anymore. These old beliefs ARE NOT OKAY WITH ME anymore.
I know that if I’m not careful, I also find myself needing to over-pay if I ever have to stop and take care of myself. I am aware of how I pre-punish myself when I start needing to take care of myself, I punish myself for being weak and selfish, yet I’m willing to pay that price of punishment because I feel like I’m going die if I don’t.
This has become a pattern, an addiction, a loop. It’s time for it to stop.
I can’t ever love everything and everyone else enough to make-up for not loving and caring for myself – I’ve tried and it does’t work. The paradox is that when I stop and take care of myself, I have so much more to care for others. I have an abundance, an overflow to work with, and to do what I love most — connect and share with others.
I know that it’s not fair to others when I give them more than I have to give. It serves no one. It’s not a healthy relationship. I want to offer those I love a healthy relationship. No one benefits if everyone doesn’t benefit. There are ways for everyone to benefit from connection.
I know that one of the problems I face is that connecting and sharing with others is essential to my well-being. My work and my purpose is to sit in a circle with humans and learn from each other and love each other. Learning from others as well as sharing what I have learned is oxygen to me. So, I have to find a way to care for myself enough that I have sufficient energy to do what I love most — teach, share, guide, connect, learn and create creative solutions to thrive through the human experience.
I am not willing to give up this essential part of my life. So, I have to learn ways to nurture and care for myself so that I can experience the greatest joys I know of. When I am forced to step away from life just to recover, I become starved of what I most want to be doing.
This cycle cannot continue.
So I am committed to rewiring my beliefs and cultivating the discipline necessary to change my behaviors.
I will see my time and energy as my stewardship of resources. When I invest in my well-being, it compounds like a savings account. I always have exponential growth and an abundance of love and solutions to offer when I invest in my own well-being savings account.
I will stop over-doing. It’s not necessary.
I will abandon my need to justify, defend and over-explain why I need rest. I will just rest when I need to rest. No apologies, no excuses. In fact, I will give myself a gold star when I stop and rest.
I will give myself the same compassion, care and regard that I give to others.
I will stop treating myself in demoralizing and inhumane ways, because somehow this always leads to me attracting other people and situations who want to participate in treating me in demoralizing and inhumane ways. The stopping of this cycle starts with me.
I will remember that my work in the world IS IMPORTANT, and IT IS SACRED to me . . . but it is not so important that it’s worth losing a life over. A person’s life is the most sacred thing there is. I will hold my own life as sacred as I hold everyone else’s life.
I will remember that there are nourishing things to fill my body, soul and life with. And there are also toxic things to choose from. I will personally veto toxic situations, toxic foods, toxic interactions and toxic relationships and instead welcome nourishing situations, nourishing foods, nourishing interactions and nourishing relationships. I will remember that things can change, and that it’s possible that the state I am in at certain times in my life contribute to the toxicity of what I am drawing in to my life. I will remember that as I am healing and growing, other things are also growing and changing — and there is a possibility that so much healing could take place that things that were once toxic are now healthy.
I will remember that I have learned a lot, and I am not the same person I used to be. So when I find myself retreating and isolating out of fear that I will get hurt again, or hurt someone else again — I will remember that I have new skills, new beliefs and new wisdom. I don’t need to be afraid anymore.
I will remember that I am not on a mission to be perfect anymore, just to be whole.
I will stop berating myself for being who I am just because not everyone likes who I am. I will be acceptable to myself instead of being acceptable to others at the expense of being acceptable to myself. When I am true to who I am, I will attract the people who like who I am.
I will break the cycle of belief that my value comes from how busy I am or how much I can produce or how much endurance I have.
I will stop putting things on the table for anyone to take that I cannot afford to give away.
I will make time and room in my life EVERY DAY for the unique things that bring me joy and nourishment. I will do this without apologizing and defending and over-explaining.
I will take responsibility for my own well-being. I will treat myself the way I would treat a child that I love and cherish.
I will be a good example to my own daughters and sons, my own sons and grandsons. I will treat myself the way that I want them to treat themselves. I cannot expect more from them than I am willing to expect from myself.
I will embrace and accept my own magnificence, my own talents and abilities and my own uniqueness, knowing that this will silence my need to be acceptable to others.
I will remember that my default behaviors of “fixing myself” are different than caring for myself. I don’t always need to be fixed. Sometimes I just need to rest and refuel, that doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with me.
I will remember that when I don’t respect my own needs, I cannot expect that others will. When I don’t respect my own well-being, I will constantly attract other people who disrespect my well-being. So I will stop blaming others when I spiral down, and I will instead investigate where I took a self-betraying turn and see how I can avoid doing it in the future.
I want to make self-nurturing a solid value that I guide my life by, without feeling guilt and shame that I need it.
I want to heal from this.
I want to change this.
I want to rewire my beliefs about this.
I want to break this cycle.
I will sit with the discomfort and shame that comes up when old beliefs are making their way out the door and shouting shame and accusations on their way out. I will sit and observe those old voices and patterns. I will not allow old shaming voices to keep me from doing what I know is best.
I will shut out every voice that is not my own truest voice and the voice of my Creator who knows me, loves me and wants the best for me.
I will remember that the great reward from this difficult rewiring of thoughts and behaviors will be that I will have the energy, inspiration and resources to do the creative and connective work that I love most — to get back in the circle with my beloved human family and be part of the flow again.
It will be worth it.
Please help me to get there, highest self. Please extract my wisdom and motivation. And God, please show me the right way to do this. I want to change my behavior. I want to restore my soul.
You’ve just taken a look at my most difficult request to myself and what I most needed/need from therapy. It’s been so eye-opening to see that this old belief is the root of so many of the snags I’ve tangled myself in throughout life. This is some of my biggest work. Is it the same for you?
So…dear beautiful soul,
Where are you self-sacrificing to the point that you have nothing left?
What do you truly believe about self-nurturing? Is it a healthy belief?
Thanks for being on this difficult and important road with me. Tomorrow is we will powerfully step on to The Road to Self-Correcting
I love you.