The most important thing right now is to feed myself the empathy I need. Not demand it from anybody else. Give it to myself.
In the cacophony of thoughts and tasks, I now set it as a goal not to become overwhelmed. Breaking through the impulse to obediently follow my own plan, I sometimes must allow myself to get distracted — for the sake of living, and not merely following some arbitrary schedule.
This is what self-care means to me. Switching off my phone and diverging from the walk back home to sit for a black coffee (even though that’s already the third one that day) and trust that I will be able to write to myself from the heart.
Trust in my innate ability to envelop my self in loving thoughts and caress my own feelings — while they gradually subside and settle to feed my soul.
I have just entered a new cycle of the same. It starts with me not being able to contain myself, bursting with excitement caused by all that there is to do and think about. The uncontrollable desire to experience it all while I am still alive. In this phase of the cycle, I am usually convinced that whatever I can think of, I can also do.
It is precisely the moment when self-care becomes essential. The self-care that is authentic for me — not the quick fixes like lavender bath propagated by the wellness-organic industry. The self-care that, by coming into my life, allows me to pat myself on the shoulder and say: good job, pal.
The attitude of mindfulness that enables me to simply acknowledge that my head is exploding with thoughts — without judging this fact to be right or wrong.
Seeing plainly that, regardless of all my failures, I have been doing my best since the day I was born.
I lacked the capacity to infuse the attitude of self-care in my previous cycles of “I am going to save the world and myself at the same time”. The quest of saving the world is not a small one — and whether ego-driven or not (I am still not sure), it has always been present as something I wanted to pursue in my life.
With this new cycle that just began for me, I know that I finally learned one thing: this quest of mine that I am always redesigning and reshaping is futile unless I can take care of myself.
Caring for my body, emotional and mental health is the driver of my life vehicle. This is so trivial, so simple, yet I have been forgetting about it time and time again.
You cannot save the world without first saving yourself.
It works in this very order, which cannot be reversed. Therefore today I am advocating the ability to take care of ourselves as the prerequisite to any meaningful work we intend to do.
Without this capacity, we are merely recreating and reacting according to what is already imprinted in our operating systems.
I oppose the trivialisation of self-care and picturing it as nothing but “getting a good night’s sleep, treating yourself to an aromatised bath with candlelight and making sure you get a good diet and enough exercise.” These things are important, sure. But there is so much more to that.
For me, self-care is a spiritual practice. It is nurturing the relationship with your own self — no matter how little time you can find for that. It is learning to forgive yourself for absolutely everything, for without that you can never really move forward. It is sowing, watering and breeding the seeds of respect for your life.
Self-care is non-negotiable to me. It is something that will not be compromised in my life any longer. It is the only way to be a loving human. The only way to stay on track long-term. The only way to be productive, even.
But oh, this is about so much more than productivity.