What is your biggest reason for putting off self-care?
Self-care being anything that balances out stress or hardship by allowing you to prioritize your health and well-being (physically, emotionally, energetically, spiritually, etc).
Is it not enough time?
In which case, can you be more specific? What is taking up your that time that is more productive than self care? Remember, self-care doesn’t need to happen all day every day. But if you feel overwhelmed, off balance, stressed or fatigued, you need to assess how much self-care (and what kinds of self care) is going to bring you back to equilibrium and health.
My mindset trap tends to be what I think of as Productivity Pressure. I had a habit of pushing aside self-care because I didn’t view it as productive. (I say “had” because I am actively focused on changing my perspective around this issue)
So here is where I needed to pause and ask myself a couple of questions…
1. “What does productivity mean to me?”
2. “Why is productivity more important to me then caring for my well-being?”
3. “How can I shift my perspective to find balance between work and rest, productivity and self-care?”
Whatever your typical reason for not prioritizing your own health and happiness is, I invite you to question it. The answer may go a lot deeper than you might think.
Momentary backstory: (It comes full circle, I promise!)
My older brother married the one true love of his life on Saturday and the whole weekend was EXTREMELY emotional for me. I was so happy for him and for his new wife and between Friday night and Saturday I cried a LOT of happy tears! Listening to the ceremony, the vows they made to each other, and the speeches and toasts about love that followed, really made me reflect on the love in my own life and how I am treating and respecting, and most of all receiving, that love.
What got to me most was the way they looked at each other. Each glance held excitement and pride, joy and relief, knowing and understanding, devotion and respect, and so many promises. I thought for a brief moment, I wish my husband looked at me like that and in the next moment, I knew… my husband DOES look at me like that, I just don’t let myself see it or bask in it in the same way that these beautiful newlyweds were basking in it.
As always, the question was “WHY?”.
The word that came to my mind first and stuck into my heart the most was PRIDE. I was not allowing myself to see the pride in my husband’s gaze because I wasn’t looking at myself with pride. That realization broke me open enough that I was able to study myself long and hard (and most of Sunday was devoted to me doing just that… and then going to bed at 7:30 to recover)
Somewhere inside, even after all the years of dedicated self-growth and healing work, I still believed that I hadn’t earned the right to be honored or to be looked at with pride. I still felt that I needed to work harder and longer, that I needed to earn more money or pile on more accomplishments; I needed to be MORE PRODUCTIVE to be proud of myself or to be deserving of anyone else’s pride.
I put off self-care a lot of the time, because I pressured myself to be productive so that I could EARN LOVE from myself and others.
There is a difference between the things we KNOW to be true in our minds and the things that we FEEL to be true in our hearts and bodies.
I know on an intellectual level that I am a being made of love and that I am inherently deserving of love. Sometimes, I feel this truth in my body and when I do I feel wholly and fully myself, completely deserving of love and pride and respect. I know what this feels like and try to go back to that feeling and refocus myself into this truth as often as I can.
When I am putting this productivity pressure on myself to the extent that it is overwhelming my need for self-care, I know that older limiting thought patterns are taking over. Thought habits that are not based in love or in the highest truth of who I am.
I think that looking into WHY we put off our self-care, can give us a deeper look into what we believe about ourselves. When we take the time to ask questions and identify our limiting beliefs around self-care, we can work on shifting our perspective much more quickly, thereby saving ourselves from burnout, overwhelm and other forms of suffering.
Personally, I had to realize that, for me, the word “Productivity” was synonymous to “Earning Love” and that I when I am prioritizing the energy of “Productively Earning Love”, I am viewing my reality through the lens of the limiting belief that I am not inherently worthy of love. So, I need to shift that perspective and change my definition of productivity to something more healthy and balanced.
I am going to try defining Productivity as “actively sharing my love with others” and Self-Care as “Actively sharing love with myself”. Self-care is what allows me to be productive, because it allows me to fill my own cup so that I can share my gifts with others. This, to me, feels much more healthy and balanced.
Sometimes, it takes a wedding, or a big emotional upheaval or a time of being extremely off balance, to make us realize that something isn’t right and that something needs to change. When we get into the habit of questioning ourselves and the way we react to these times, we can shift our perspectives and step into the next day with much more balance and clarity and determination and pride.
I hope you take some self-care time to ask these big questions of yourself and get to know yourself at the subconscious level of limiting belief.
Productively sending my love to you!