If your answer is yes, can you tell me how you do it?
“Taking care of yourself” is a nice phrase, but it’s also very abstract.
That’s why it’s very important to “summarize this“.
- What does “taking care of yourself” really mean?
- How do you know you’re doing it?
- When you take care of yourself, do you feel good or bad?
One of the main problems I have in therapy, is that my clients have forgotten to take care of themselves.
It can be for various reasons:
- maybe they weren’t taught how to do it
- they prioritize their partner, children, work…
- or they “sell themselves” for love
- they’ve stopped taking care of themselves for so many years that it’s normal to them
But let me tell you, it’s not normal.
Taking care of yourself starts by placing your desires and needs first.
Do you do that yet?
If you still prioritize others and you’re the last one, then let me tell you, you AREN’T taking care of yourself.
I hope this post gives you some guidelines so you can get a clearer idea of what taking care of yourself really means.
Learn to take care of yourself
Of course, every person is a world and what “taking care of yourself” really means changes for each one of us, but there are some things we can consider as common and applicable for everyone.
1. Listen to yourself
How many times a day do you wonder how you feel or what you need?
Come on, think a little.
Ah! You don’t need to think?
Hum, if you answered “none”, this post will really help you.
So, here’s some homework.
Take a slightly deeper breath and ask yourself NOW:
How do you feel?
What do you need?
- Can you hear an answer?
- Do you feel lonely or sad?
- Is there anything that’s worrying you?
- Do you need to rest?
- Maybe a hug?
- Going for a walk and disconnecting?
Taking care of yourself means that you’re important to yourself, which makes your feelings and needs important too.
When you listen to yourself, you’re giving yourself space and time nobody else can give you.
Satisfying your needs is a way of valuing yourself, because you’re taking the time to give yourself what really matters to you.
That’s the first step to have a good relationship with yourself.
2. Respect yourself
This seems obvious, it’s easier said than done.
- How many times do you give in to other people’s wishes?
- How many times do you give up to be liked by others?
- How many times do you put other people’s needs ahead of your own?
- How many times have you told yourself that what you think or feel isn’t “that” important?
- How many times have you fought for what you want?
- How many times have you put yourself first?
Did you keep count?
If you answered all my questions, you’ll have some idea of whether respecting yourself is something you’re good at or which you’ve perhaps forgotten a little bit.
Respecting yourself is to give value and importance to what you think, feel and do.
Respecting yourself means knowing that you are just like anyone else. No one is above nor beneath you as a person, and you aren’t above or below anyone either.
The human being has an intrinsic value, and it’s the same for everyone.
3. Be honest with yourself
Often, to make a good impression, you deceive yourself by making yourself believe that what you do or say is actually what you want.
But, it this becomes chronic, you’ll stop realizing that you’ve stopped being honest with yourself.
To know if you’re deceiving yourself or not, in response to any internal or external request, ask yourself this question:
“If I didn’t care about what anyone thought would I really do this?”
But be honest.
You know, it’s normal for us to care about what other people think, especially those we love, because we all need love and approval.
But, our desire to please others gets too big, we can start rejecting our own thoughts to be liked by others.
Just as Giorgio Nardone said, you end up becoming a relational prostitute relational, which means, you sell your values, your priorities and what’s important to you, to be accepted by others.
4. Put yourself first
Here, the difficulty I have with some of my customers, is that they consider “putting themselves first” as “selfishness”. They actually feel bad about it.
And I have to make them reject this belief.
Putting yourself first is an act of self-love!
Think of it this way:
- If you don’t respect yourself, can you teach your children to respect themselves? (Trust me, it will be hard because children learn by example)
- If you don’t love yourself, can you give love to others? (Perhaps a love-laden need to be loved?)
- If you don’t put yourself first, how can you meet your needs? (As other people’s needs will always come before yours)
Do you see where I’m going?
Do you understand the importance of putting yourself first?
5. Be authentic
I don’t remember well if it was one of Antonio Blay Fontcuberta’s books or films that explained the following example:
Imagine you’re tired because of work. You’ve had a hard day, and what you want now is to lie on the couch and relax.
But then, your 5-year-old daughter approaches you when you arrive, hugs you and asks you to play with her:
What’s the most authentic thing you could do at that time?
Would you tell her you can’t play because you’re too tired and need to lay down or would you push your fatigue aside and play for a while?
Think about it.
I’ll give you the answer Antonio used to give:
Both responses can be just as authentic as long as you choose from “your center”.
Your center is the midpoint between what you can do, your love and consciousness.
If you are centered and aligned, and choose the couch, this will be authentic and if you choose to play with your daughter, this will be authentic too. Because it will be you who chose and not your fear of what people might say, your judgments or other people’s demands.
Being authentic isn’t easy because we live on autopilot, so before making any decision, take a deep breath and try to find the most genuine answer from within.
To end this article, I’d like to leave a little exercise:
Take a pen and pencil and write down the answers to the following questions
If you put yourself first, if you learn to take care of yourself,
- What things would you do or you would stop doing?
- Would you think or stop thinking?
- What things would you include in your life for which you “don’t have time” right now?
- Read for 15 minutes before bed
- Stop criticizing yourself
- Support your decisions
- Give yourself half an hour a day just for you
- Actively do nothing for 5 minutes, 5 times a day
- Take a bath with mineral salts
As always, lists only work if you follow them, so choose small and easy tasks for your list and start today.
Because only you can put yourself first, and if you don’t, don’t expect others to.
Why don’t you tell me in the comments about how you take care of yourself and put yourself first?