“Self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.”
– Parker Palmer
Be kind to yourself. Commit to self-care.
It is advice I often give in the clinic. Sometimes it is received with a slightly fazed expression, as though it may be the hardest thing to adopt.
It is not selfish or indulgent to practice self care, but necessary, healing, freeing and enlightening.
You may be surprised to hear that the NHS may soon be offering a pioneering treatment, Compassion Based Therapy which aims to make people be kinder to themselves.
The human brain is wired to be soothed by care and compassion, we all desire to be loved and accepted. Part of the therapy involves taming your inner critic, learning to slow down your breathing, which is often short and shallow when one is anxious, and to bring compassion out for oneself.
Dr Heriot-Maitland, co-director of Balanced Minds in London says we can learn to ‘benignly parent ourselves’, in the same way a distressed baby can be calmed by a mother’s soothing tone.
This therapy is based on sound evidence, including the attachment theory, that we are born with an instinct to seek closeness.
Part of self-compassion is also actually about being your ‘true self’. How many relationships are you in where you feel the need to be someone else for fear of not being accepted, perhaps even ridiculed or hurt?
Clarissa Pincola Estes says, “…to be ourselves causes us to be exiled by many others, and yet to comply with what others want causes us to be exiled from ourselves.”
Integration is an important part of life and something we all have to do. We have to live in harmony, sometimes with those we don’t perhaps naturally harmonise with, but we can learn from these relationships and perhaps see the good in those who challenge us.
It is incredibly healing to be around people who are on the same wavelength. Your soul family. People who get, understand, empathise and love you for who you are. We bond with those who are caring and compassionate.
When emotional self healing takes place and you start to honour yourself, honour for others follows.
Be brave and be bold. Be yourself. Commit to self-care.
” There are days I drop words of comfort on myself like falling leaves and remember that it is enough to be taken care of by myself.” Brian Andreas