Self-Care in Times of Self-Loathing
I don’t always like myself. There, I admitted it.
Also, sometimes I know why I am out of charity with myself. But sometimes I don’t.
I suspect that sometimes it is just habitual self-loathing – residuals left over from two decades of battling anxiety, depression and an eating disorder in times when no one (me included) knew what an eating disorder was. As such, I was regularly submitted to such (un)helpful queries as, “Why don’t you just EAT?” and “Why do you have to BE like this?”
If only I knew.
Sometimes, new experiences trigger those old feelings to come flooding back again. In fact, sometimes I still have those exact same questions about myself – and I still don’t know how to answer them. The truth is, I don’t know why I am like this or that – ever. In the same way that I don’t know why some mornings I bound out of bed full of positivity and other days I feel like I’ve been ambushed in my sleep, I don’t know why some days I am high on being me and other days I would cheerfully trade personalities with pretty much anyone.
That is just the way it is. Each new morning comes and I just never know what I’m going to get.
What I DO know how to do now is practice good self-care even when I am not feeling like it. I never used to be able to do that. I wore my heart (probably my head, really) on my sleeve to such an extent that I couldn’t exercise compassion when I was feeling aversion. I had a stringent “earning” system that required that my emotions and thoughts be on the same page before I could extend even the basest of human kindnesses towards myself.
If I wasn’t thinking kind thoughts about me, I wouldn’t be feeling them. And if I wasn’t feeling them, I sure as heck wouldn’t be thinking them. As you might imagine, I was rarely kind to me back in those days.
Today, self-kindness is a required default. I can deal with my thinking and my feeling later. But I must lay a foundation of self-kindness and self-care first. That is today’s prerequisite. The reason for this is simple. If I am not kind, I will not be honest. I will not be honest because I will be scared, and scared people tend to lie if they think the truth will get them in more trouble. I may not like myself sometimes today, but I am not scared of myself anymore.
I think this is because, as I shared earlier this week in my post about Brene Brown’s new book “Daring Greatly”, today I can tell the difference between being someone bad and doing something bad. There is a big difference, I have discovered, between needing an attitude or a behavioral adjustment and being a bad person who does not deserve to be here.
The latter is to be expected. The former is impossible – at least in my world today.
Today’s Takeaway: How do you do at good self-care even when you are having a difficult day in terms of self-esteem or self-regard? Do you easily separate what you do from who you are? If you struggle, how might studying more about the difference between doing and being help you practice better self-care during troubled moments in your life?
Woman caring for herself photo available from Shutterstock
Cutts, S. (2013). Self-Care in Times of Self-Loathing. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 3, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/mentoring-recovery/2013/03/self-care-in-times-of-self-loathing/