How does she do all of that!? The real answer is that ‘she’ does not. Have you ever heard life consists of a triangle with points at family/friends, career, and health/fitness. Basically the idea is that you pick two and the third is nonexistent. Although our society has added hobbies, extracurriculars, and social media to that now confusing trapezoid or decagon, depending on how you spend your time, most people either spend their time trying to balance the three or put up a facade that they do. The latter is usually toppling over in multiple categories. That perfect girl we all know from Instagram or even in real life.
We all have that one friend that seems to be able to succeed at everything he or she tries at, but I am here to talk about reality. I definitely consider myself a realist rather than an idealist. I disdain the phrase “We have the same 24 hours in a day as Beyonce does” because we all have differing journeys. Our career paths, childhood, families, environment, circumstances, and personalities all differ and it seems unfair to compare someones end to your beginning.
I am ready for society to embrace our differing habits and tendencies, learning styles, and forms of intelligence. You may have been the “dumb blonde” with mediocre grades in school, but have you ever analyzed your emotional intelligence or intuitive intelligence? On the other hand, some Sum Cum Laude folks are completely lost with relationships.
I have been thinking a lot about self-care and loving oneself lately. I have difficulty finding satisfaction with my progress and chronically compare myself to others. When I see someone else do something unique I am excited for their clever actions or thoughts but my mind usually jumps to why am I not quick or clever enough to have done or thought of this or that? Some may read it as jealousy, and all of us experience that here and there, but for me, it is about criticism and self-insult. We are all children at heart and children cannot be scolded and pushed incessantly. Children need love and reassurance, so wouldn’t it make sense that self-love would actually lead us to a more fulfilling, successful, and content life?
When we speak of self-love our minds jump to getting our nails done, splurging on a new purse, or taking a day off, but I am more interested in the mental self-love. The quote, “you believed in Santa Clause for like 10 years (or 14, in my case) so you can believe in yourself for 5 seconds,” comes to mind. What does is mean to believe in yourself?
As an INTJ personality, I am an Introvert and iNtuitive thinker. In other words, I constantly replay scenarios and situations in my head, analyze things I and others say until the horse is dead, and my brain absolutely never shuts off. This is a blessing and a curse as I believe it is a form of intelligence, but I tend to be exhausted at night, get poor sleep because I am processing thought, constantly worry about something I said in the past, and am ever-anxious about the future.
My dear friend I know you are thinking “meeeee tooo,” and I have some good news for you. We are going to stop all that and focus on the NOW. The present. The music of life you hear all around you. Smell the fresh (and dirty) laundry, feel your cold, clamy feet, sing sweet hums of Oasis’s “Wonderwall,” and see the beautiful dust bunnies at the other side of the room. Find some gratefulness for that because that is where God has led you right now. Feel your heartbeat. Close your eyes and just be.
Attachments, emotions, schedules, relationships, and lack thereof are worldly things. Underneath it all you are a beautiful soul that has a natural ability to love. So stop being so hard on your sweet being and love yourself. Believe that you are exactly where God has intended since the dawn of time.
Someone will always be better and there will always be someone with a more diar situation. We are all so self-critical with our odd nuances. It is okay to cover yourself daily with makeup. It is okay not to wear an ounce. It is okay to sit on the couch and Netflix all day. It is also okay to stay so busy because subconsciously you don’t want to stop and really look at the hot mess that is you, and I, and believe it or not, everyone. But be okay with that hot mess and know it is not forever.
The dark times exist. They have existed for me, mostly in college, although I fade into it here and there, gasping to get out of the hole and feel joy. I promise the sun always comes up. There will always be another night though and its best to take note, drop disappointment or attachment, and accept it as a part of life. Without storms we would take the beauty of a cool summer day for granted. Keep chugging forward, but stop every now and then to note where you are without judgement or emotion. A simple unbiased analysis.
I have been running, busying, and anxiously throwing myself to the next to-do. I realized weeks had passed and I had just been going mindlessly. I decided to skip yoga (my favorite part of the day) to just window shop and do some things around the house. Now, lets get to the easy tips for self-care:
- Be okay with the rollercoaster. Meditate (no, stop rolling your eyes… SIT DOWN!) Decide to go straight home after work or cook something and decide to meditate while it is in the oven. Clear yourself of other distractions and just pay attention to your senses. Play music or sit in silence. Stare at a candleflame. Sit in a bath. Pray. Be in the now and drop your to-do list. Take note of how you feel that day, if you have been procrastinating, putting off friends,
- Decide your least favorite time of year, and when it comes, write down a list of things that excite you about that time of year. I’m a summer girl and I get really bummed when Pumpkin Spice-everything pops up because I am sad summer is over and I never seem to get to do all I want to during the short few months. I’m cold natured, always freezing, can’t breathe when working out from asthma, and loathe the winter months. Football leaves me swamped. This year, I bought new fall decor and clothing, decided on an apple picking day, and a new hike. I got psyched up to go fishing with my husband. Make a list of things to look forward to (and that also require no effort/work on your part.)
- Put the past in the past and trust God with the future. Stop being that worrywart overanalyzer. Take some risks and do something spontaneous. Try to live in the now. If you can’t, ponder over what it actually means to live in the now.
- Set attainable goals. I have a list in my notes that lists “mountain home, beach house, fishing property, $20K in the bank.” Recently, I decided to categorize my lists into: LIFELONG (see prior), 5 year, 10 year, next year, through the end of year, and this month. Also, take your to-do list, prioritize, and write down one item under each day in your planner. I often feel overwhelmed and an urgency to get everything on my to-do list done. Lets be better time-managers and schedule days to actually get those things done. Overestimate and you will actually get more done than you had planned. Be easy on yourself. Remember, only society and insecurity from the devil are the ones telling you to be better or try harder.
- Done is better than perfect. As an INTJ, this has become my new motto. I have ideas buzzing all through my head and I often procrastinate until I have something absolutely perfect. I know from the past that I am usually pretty happy with my final results (from this blog to paintings to decorating to relationships), so I try to set aside my obsessive nuances and just get things done.
- Talk to someone. With the world of social media and technology we rarely converse these days. Have coffee with a new friend, old friend, family, or acquaintance. Strike up a conversation with someone at the store. I love coincidences and serendipity and believe it is all part of a greater plan. Everyone you come in contact with has been put there for a reason, so if you are feeling down, let that situation where someone says exactly what you need to hear happen. Even if you do not believe in the divine, connection can be magical and filling. Seek out and surround yourself with positive and supportive people.
- Fill yourself up. Sometimes we are so busy being our best that we don’t leave time to fill ourselves up. We can get into habits with blogging, work, or a relationship of giving our emotions, efforts, and energy. This can leave you feeling stuck in a rut, lonely, down, or just plain exhausted. If you need sleep, SLEEP. If you need fatty foods, go to MCDONALDS. If you are frustrated that no one will go with you to that movie you have been dying to see, GO ALONE. If you feel sick, go to the DOCTOR. Parents struggle with this as they pour all their time and energy into their kids. It is logical that one is a better and more attentive parent when he or she is happy, rested, and attentive, so perhaps make yourself a priority for a week and see the improvements in your parenting and love as a result. The quote, “One cannot pour from an empty cup” comes to mind.
- Stop holding yourself back and BELIEVE in yourself for once. Tell me exactly WHY you can’t get that dream job, that significant other, or lose that weight. What is holding you back. Chances are that its simply . Know that you have everything you will ever need inside of you to achieve your daydreams. You have the motivation, energy, and you can adjust your free time with will. Where theres a will there is a way. What is holding you back? Get help with that blockade and focus your efforts on removing that wall rather than the end result.
- The cliche, worldly “self love.” Go get your hair did, your nails, done, get a new outfit, and pick up a PSL while you’re at it. Just ride within self-restraint limits of your wallet so you don’t feel guilty later. Plan ahead and don’t be afraid to schedule something that really makes you happy, but remember these are only band aids to true self-care.
- Find contentment with now. Remember that we are put here to love. Our souls have a natural ability to love and careers, relationships, and success are all worldly things. Find contentment by acknowledging gratitude for what you have here and now. When someone gives you a hug, really embrace that moment in your mind and feel the love and energy exchange. Smile longer, take your time, and accept that it was not yet meant to be if you did not get all you wanted accomplished. Sometimes ideas need to cook before the great reveal. Look at your skin and wiggle your finders and stare at your face in the mirror. You are alive and you are loved by someone. You are loved by me. I was put here to write this so that you can read it at this exact moment in time. You are beautiful. And that was that.
Photos are from our trip to Columbia, SC to see the University of South Carolina Gamecocks play the Kentucky Wildcats. We lost and got home quite late, but we enjoyed the drive up and down and eachothers company during tailgate. Thanks to my Mom for cooking barbecue and my Dad for loyally buying Carolina tickets for 30+ years and passing on your passion to us kids.