Taking Care of Yourself

take care of yourself

It is easy to fall into the pattern of going with the flow, agreeable to whatever the majority want to do. It is easy to proclaim that you don’t mind, whatever the plans are. It is easy to lose yourself. I look back and shake my head at the things I have gone along with. They brought me no pleasure and a fair degree of frustration. Everything from seeing movies whose themes I loathed to studying topics I had no interest in.

In my youth, I was alone fairly constantly. I was by myself- in my room studying via correspondence- from fifteen to eighteen years of age. It taught me a great deal. I realized that one is alone through many pivotal moments in life. I was alone when I was found close to death at fifteen, after my attempted murder. I was alone when I was taken for surgery, and when I woke. I was alone when fitted for my body cast, and throughout my early morning treks to an IVF clinic later on. I was alone with a newborn and still find myself alone when facing major life events. I was certainly alone during those three years studying in my room. The only reprieve was when I went to hospital for further surgery.

I had myself, and I needed every ounce of strength my body possessed. I meditated to calm my frazzled mind and cope with the physical pain. I visualized, to see my body and mind strong and healthy. I ran baths fragranced with essential oils to pamper my wounded psyche. I wrote poetry to express my feelings and I made a vision board brimming with aspirations, long before it was fashionable. I had to be my own advocate, and best friend. It was crucial to my survival.

I met many good people when I ventured out on my own, but felt gifted that I didn’t lean on anyone; at least not entirely. It is too easy to lose yourself, to drop your plans to go along with others. It is too easy to leave portions of yourself behind; your preferences and passions. When I am with my friends, I like to attend with a full cup, rather than an empty vessel. When I socialize, it is because I genuinely want to, rather than to fill a deep need within.

take care of yourself

I have been guilty of not taking care of myself; of putting myself last and everyone else first. I have done many things to make other people happy, and thus pleased with me. I felt like I was shrivelling inside a cocoon. I have been cranky with myself whenever I have ignored one of my policies- which keep me safe and content. I reflect back to the days when I only had myself. I had everything in order, and my focus was laser-sharp. I did only those things which nourished my body and mind. In the business of adult life, we tend to lose it. I never wanted to wake in horror in my middle-age and discover that I was leading a life not of my making.

I have the tendency to want to please people, as many of us do. If it is to our detriment, then it’s a problem. You have to understand that you are important too. People will come and go through your life. You will find some aren’t who they presented themselves to be. Others will do a disappearing act worthy of a magician. Some will hurt you deeply. You have yourself. You made the voyage to this world alone, and you will make the journey into death alone too. Loved ones may hold your hand, but they can’t accompany you. I recommend getting to know who you are all over again. What music do you love? Films? Clothes? Colours? What about cuisine? Who in your life fills you with joy? What do you want to be when you grow up? There is still time to be that, you know! When you have compiled your lists, go ahead and surround yourself with that which you love!

I went to a talk last night for Beyond Blue. The speakers talked of falling into deep depression, caused by a serious illness and the stress of running a company. They regained their inner spark by retreating, regrouping and rebuilding. No job, group or lifestyle is worth your misery. It is an unfair trade-off. Please, glance into the mirror, and see the beautiful reflection looking back at you. Introduce yourself. You have a companion on your journey who will never leave your side. They have the ability to sustain you, and eventually walk you all the way back home.