Well, we’re here. The final part of a three-parter concerning why it’s so dang tough to care for ourselves.
While some self-care habits do require discipline (broccoli over sweet tarts), a lot of self-care ideas can range from fun and adventurous to downright indulgent. So why do most women struggle to care for themselves?
The three main roadblocks are:
Environmental and Logistical
What you believe
Let’s give our thought life some attention now.
What You Believe
What you believe has a humongo impact on how you treat yourself.
Whether you’re aware of what you believe or not, your beliefs still have a humongo impact on how you treat yourself.
Our thoughts can be very loud and overtly drive our choices when it comes to self-care:
“I don’t like exercise. So I’m not doing it.”
And those obviously anti-self-care thoughts can be a challenge to alter or work around.
But the quiet thoughts, are the sneaky sleepers who can outright be near impossible to overcome (Not to worry, a roadmap lies ahead for you).
Some quiet thoughts with deeper meaning:
“One day I’ll travel” = I can’t enjoy the present moment
“They need me, so I’m always there for them” = I do not prioritize myself
“I’ll eat well tomorrow.” = It’s too hard to change
When it comes to what we believe, whether it’s a clear and out loud belief we hold or murky and subconscious, our beliefs can make or break our path to wellness.
Some of these beliefs can be outright, full-sentence thoughts or spoken comments:
“I’m too tired to take care of myself.”
“This is how I am.”
“I can’t change.”
“I don’t think caring for myself matters.”
“I don’t have time.”
“One day I’ll get around to it.”
“That’s for someone else.”
But you also want to pay attention to the beliefs you have that show up as feelings:
You don’t feel self-compassion
You don’t feel deserving
You feel apathetic
You feel bad about your body
You feel small compared to others
They’re all beliefs. Whether you’re aware of it or not.
Notice your feelings and how you treat yourself for a clue to what you actually believe about yourself and your self-care.
With this strong pull that our beliefs have on our actions (and inactions), we’d best get to strategizing.
More or less, you’ve got three options when it comes to braining and believing:
Recognize that you have the belief. Choose your actions based on what you most value.
Identify the lie in what you believe. Replace it with truth.
Challenge the belief. Educate yourself and change what is possible.
Recognize that you have the belief. Choose your actions based on what you most value-
This is where you take a look at what you believe, respect that it is there, and let it be. You’re not going to push it aside or focus on positive thinking. You’ll instead accept that the thought is there, let it rest, and turn your focus to what matters most to you.
I’m too tired to exercise.
Feeling strong and healthy matters most to me.
You jog for 20 minutes in your neighborhood.
You concede that you’re tired. But you know that feeling healthy and strong is most important to you. So you choose what you value most, not what you feel or think in the moment.
Identify the lie in what you believe. Replace it with the truth–
This is where you look at what you believe and identify what is and isn’t accurate.
Once you’ve uncovered the lie, replace it with the truth.
Other people should be taken care of before I am.
I don’t matter as much as other people.
All people are made to matter and need and deserve care. All are equal and made to be loved.
Act On The Truth:
Care for yourself as well and as often as you care for others.
It doesn’t matter if I take care of myself or not.
You are indestructible and the way you treat yourself has no long-term effects on your health, happiness, and longevity.
A high-functioning body and mind are important contributors to your happiness and the length and quality of your life. Treating yourself poorly has a direct impact on your mental and physical health, as well as your lifespan.
Act On The Truth:
Prioritize your wellness every day. Make a habit of treating yourself with love and goodness and eliminate or reduce behaviors and choices that compromise your happiness, health, and years of life.
Challenge the belief. Educate yourself and change what is possible-
This is when you take a look at what you believe, question the validity, and look to see if the belief can be changed to better support you.
I’m not good at doing yoga.
Question the thoughts and ask: Is this true? What does it mean to be good at yoga? What is the purpose of yoga?
Educate yourself and be open to ways the belief can be altered for your benefit:
Speak to a yoga teacher or practitioner of yoga and ask what it means to be “good at yoga.” Research the origins and philosophy of yoga to learn the purpose of yoga.
Create a new belief and act on it:
With the education you sought, you choose to believe that yoga is something you can do and enjoy. You’ve learned yoga is an individual practice and there are many styles. You’ve learned one of the primary philosophies of yoga is to drop all comparisons, thus “good at” is irrelevant. You’ve learned that yoga has many physical and mental benefits, and you choose to believe it is something that is good for you.
You take a beginner’s yoga class once a week and appreciate what it does for you mentally and physically.
In each of these examples, you’re required to use your mind.
As you go through each of these strategies, just as you’ve done in Part One and Part Two, be prepared to use your gorgeous brain… a lot. It will begin to feel like a muscle you’re developing and it will become stronger. As a result, the changes will become less stubborn to make.
You are a thoughtful, intelligent person and you are able to do this.
And where do affirmations fit into all of this?
Well, they can certainly have their place. They may naturally fit into one of the above categories. For instance, replacing the false belief with the truth- “I’m not lovable” switches to “I am lovable.”
The key here is to be considerate about how you talk to yourself and how you talk about yourself.
How can you think of yourself with compassion? How can you talk about yourself with love and kindness?
Those are all affirmations and they’re something you’ll want to do.
Speaking and thinking kindly about yourself is good for you. So do it. And do it a lot.
As with everything we’ve discussed in the three parts of overcoming self-care roadblocks, everything comes down to becoming aware of what’s real and true, and what the realities of your circumstances are. Then there’s the focus on how can you be willing and flexible to work around it, accept it, challenge it, or change it.
Each thing we’ve discussed requires active thought. You’ll have to involve your mind. And recognize when you’re coasting.
I love a good coast.
But when you’re coasting down a bad stream or headed to a dark spot, shake your brain up, remind it to work, and get involved.
Let your mind get working and your choices and body will follow.
The way you care for yourself matters.
It matters, it matters, it matters.
So, let’s not put it off any longer.
Today. Take care of you.
Tomorrow. Take care of you.
Every Day. Take care of you.
How can I help you?
Work with me privately and we’ll build a self-care practice for you and work to overcome what stands in your way:
Use my 30 Second Self-Care Guide to help you come up with loads of self-care ideas to implement, no matter how much time you have. It’s FREE
Listen to my Ease In To Your Morning Audio Guide to start the day on a gentle, loving note, focused on you. It’s also FREE
Listen to the podcast Make It Joy on almost any platform or one of these guys:
Podcast Webpage: https://makeitjoy.alitu.com/