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How To Take Care of Yourself

Our culture is one of outsourcing our needs. We look to a partner to feel seen, loved, acknowledged, and understood. We look to books for wisdom. We ask our friends for advice. We obsessively listen to self-help podcasts in order to "fix" something broken in us. In many cases, these are good sources of support, however, we seem to have lost connection to our INNER KNOWING and the wealth of resources we carry with us. In many ways we subtly devalue our own insights and wisdom. In relationships, we expect our partner to give us what we have struggled to give ourselves. This expectation can create a lot of disharmony in our relationships because having an expectation for a need to be met can put a lot of pressure on our partner. I'm not saying we shouldn't negotiate for what we need in relationship, but we need to get better at loving and acknowledging ourselves. That puts us in a much stronger position to be generous with our partner.

So how do we do this?

  • We get to know and create more intimacy with ourselves. Journaling is an easy way to spend some time thinking about what is important to us. Not the broad stroke important things (a job, a home, our family), but specific things- what we value, what bothers us, what motivates us, what inspires us. The internet is full of journal prompts if you need some help getting started. Try 10 minutes a day for a week, then look back through your writing and notice if there are any themes that repeat.

  • We recognize our strengths. Make a list of times in your life when things were going well. Who were you being? Which qualities were you displaying? Look for your strengths. Ask 5 people what they think your strengths are. Ask them what they trust about you.

  • We observe our authentic self. The self that isn't being pulled by societal norms, work culture, popular opinion. Remember times when you went against the grain and notice what you valued in those times that motivated you to endure to friction of being different. Think about what has always been true about you. Make a timeline and divide it in 10-year increments. Note significant events in those years. Notice the themes and what was important to you. Make a list of 5 things that have always been true about you. This shows you what is absolutely nonnegotiable and let the people in your life know what must be honored.

  • We study our growing edges. What has always been difficult for you? What is hard for you to be with? What upsets you the most in relationships? In our culture? In politics? If you want to be really brave, ask 3 people whom you trust what they see as the most important area you need to grow in is.

  • We create a relationship with our inner knowing. This is the most important way we honor ourselves. Spend time alone. Watch your thoughts. Ask your body questions and listen inward for a reply. When you confront a problem, mull it over on your own for a couple days before you vent to friends or ask for advice. Spend a few minutes each day feeling your heartbeat. Notice where your attention in drawn in your body when you close your eyes.

The more we get to know ourselves, really know ourselves, the more we begin to trust ourselves, the more we can give to ourselves. The easier it becomes to ask our partner what we need. And the less pressure our partner feels- because we are coming to the relationship with a sense of who we are and not relying only on our partner to validate us. Our cup is full, and our partner's love and acknowledgement become a beautiful addition, not filler for a hole. When we know exactly who we are, we can take care of ourselves in a way that is unique and specific to what we need. When we approach our relationship with ourselves with the same curiosity and longing that we do a partner, we contribute to an attitude of bucking the cultural norm of not trusting our inner resourcefulness and wholeness.

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