Self-Care and Survival: Getting Through the Tough Times
Walking home the other evening, some melancholy thoughts on my mind, I happened upon this rhyme stuck to the wall of a building:
Roses are Red,
Violets aren’t Blue,
Smile, it will get
And (even though it’s a little kitschy) it did make me smile. Pulled me out of those thoughts and back into the world. Connected me in some intangible way to the person who had mysteriously felt compelled to share their bit of wisdom about what ‘gets them through.’
So what gets you through?
And how can you connect with it in those moments when you might feel overwhelmed with challenge or sorrow?
It’s funny how, as infants, and maybe still as children, we can seem pretty skilled at the art of knowing what we need. For instance, as babies, if we’re wet, cold, hungry or lonely, we probably instinctively ‘knew’ we needed something – perhaps someone – to get us through. (And we ‘knew’ how to voice that in some way).
Then, for many of us, that changes over time. We’re gradually schooled out of it. Taught, instead, to sublimate our desires in the interests of others. Or maybe to re-prioritise our lives so we no longer feature at the top of any of our lists. Or perhaps taught that stoicism is something to aim for as an admirable ‘strength’ of character (pretending that we’re invincible to vulnerability – that we have no needs). Basically taught to ignore that inner voice that knows…
Does that sound familiar to you?
If so, what might it be like to consciously consult with that part of yourself again?
To re-engage with it?
To literally ask it what it needs?
Maybe to just take a moment when the tough times are next upon you, and to listen for what’s missing?
Or what’s needed?
Or what could soothe or strengthen or support?
What might it be like to become that ‘someone’ that cares for you?
And perhaps, like that mysterious urban poet from the photo, to write your own strategies and stick them to your internal ‘walls’ – so they’d be there, ready, for those melancholy moments when you just might stumble upon them and remember all of this…
I wonder what you might write?
(And maybe you’d like to write some of your self-care strategies here, on this ‘wall’, too… so we can collectively be inspired, and perhaps get through the tough times together…).
Photo: Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar
Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar (Grad Dip Counselling & Psychotherapy) is a writer, blogger and Sydney psychotherapist in private practice at One Life Counselling & Psychotherapy. Gabrielle also co-facilitates telephone support groups for people who are living with cancer, for their carers, and for people who have been bereaved through a cancer experience. She was the former editor of a journal on counselling and psychotherapy and she provides regular therapeutic updates on facebook and Twitter @OneLifeTherapy.
Gawne-Kelnar, G. (2011). Self-Care and Survival: Getting Through the Tough Times. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 3, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/therapist-within/2011/04/self-care-and-survival-getting-through-the-tough-times/