It occurred to me recently that it doesn’t matter why you’re/I’m tired. The antidote is still rest. See, I spend a lot of time judging my tiredness. I don’t deserve to be tired. Comparing myself to others, look at all she does, she deserves to be tired. I haven’t accomplished enough to be tired. Which is all wrapped up in some self shaming behaviors calling myself weak, lazy, etc. Nice, huh?
This is the antithesis of self care/love. I would never say these things to another person, why would I say them to myself. And regardless of if my tiredness is valid up to some secret and probably unreasonable expectation…the answer to tiredness remains rest. And rested Katy is a whole lot better at being gentle and kind to herself than tired Katy. That’s what self care/love looks like. Doing what is right for you, what you know you need, to the best of your ability. Just like you would for a beloved child.
I’m thinking a similar truth might be found when we are sad or mad. I tend to judge these emotions too. I don’t deserve to be mad or sad, others have so much more reason than I do. And there may be some solid work to be done around why I feel mad or sad, but the antidote is still the same. It’s in giving myself love and gentleness and kindness. What makes me feel these things? For me, it’s yoga, journaling, a beach walk, time with friends, counseling, coloring, reading, walking a labyrinth, organizing a closet, praying for others, reaching out to people and telling them I’m thinking about them.
What is a more common tendency than doing these loving things? Trying to power through, blaming others or myself, shaming myself for feeling that way, have a drink, binge watching tv, listlessly browsing the internet/social media. None of these things feel like love to me, but they somehow seem easier in the moment.
So, I’m going to lean in to love. Or do my best at it. And not love myself like that annoying family member that you don’t like, but have to love. Instead, like someone I deeply care about and want all the best for. That I’m honest with and kind to. That I know is trying to be her best self, both for her benefit and that of everyone around her. I want to be loved that way, and I want to love that way. So I have to start with me if I’m ever going to extend that any further. That to me is real self care.