(Thank you to those of you who joined as followers after yesterday's blog.)
Last night I was speaking with a friend who has had some health issues in the past but is now much improved. She has been working very hard in the last couple of years on getting her physical well-being back and she is now able to do certain things that she previously couldn't do.
She talked about looking forward to getting back to work one day in the future and not for the reason that one might think. She was anticipating being able to have a real answer to the question, "So what are you doing these days?" There is such a stigma attached to not having a job and she feels it acutely whenever she is asked about "work".
I encouraged her to think of her life as her work. "The next time you're asked that question," I said, "Simply say, "My life is a full time job.""
Because looking after ourselves really is a full time job. Self-care takes time and energy. There was a time in my life when I didn't even know what self-care was! Though I do not do it perfectly I do my best to make self-care my top priority. I have to. Without it I'm no good to anyone.
Self-care involves putting my Self first. People may mistake this for selfishness but there is a big difference.
This computer's dictionary defines selfishness as "a lack of consideration for others; to be chiefly concerned with one's own personal profit or pleasure."
It does not even have a definition for self-care.
Dictionary.com, however, describes self-care in this way: "care of the self without medical or other professional consultation."
Not exactly what I'm talking about.
Self-care is about taking care of our needs first so that we may be of maximum service in the world. It's about looking after our inner life so that our outer life can thrive.
It takes commitment and vigilance. Taking time to pray and meditate, making sure I get enough rest and exercise, working with the team that keeps me on track (coach, mentor, spiritual director, support groups), clearing out Old BS's (Old Belief Systems) and practicing new behaviours, letting go of control issues, facing fears etc.
This is deep work and it's not easy. I said to another friend with whom I was sharing on the same subject, "I'm a big job!" and she laughed so hard she had to write it down and post it on her cork board.
I do all of this work because it enriches my life. I do it because when I put my Self first everything else becomes first class.
With self-care being my full-time job, my "work" as a writer/performer becomes the service I do to give back for the great gift of my life. It's the Christmas bonus all year round.
Inspiring Message of the Day: When I put my Self first, everything else flows from that. I don't have to "work" as hard when I am working on making self-care my number one priority.