make a bruise
stop a wound from bleeding
where is my pressure coming from? what does it do to me?
it presses up against me but i don’t shatter or bruise, it presses up from inside.
am i made of diamonds or scar tissue?
maybe i don’t hate myself as much i think. maybe i just hate being human.
i work well under pressure. maybe i create pressure in order to work?
but what is life without humanity?
what is work without purpose?
what do i do to make myself feel worthy?
on a piece of paper i wrote “self-loathing” then above it,
“self sabotage” then above that i wrote “self-deprecating”
then above that i wrote “self-centered”, kept stacking these “self-” words
until i got to “self-love” then at the very top: “self-actualization”
i’ve been thinking about “self-care” a lot lately. it’s become an buzz word in recent years, online and offline, events and podcasts and workshops and retreats and seminars all emphasizing its importance. when i see the phrase, the image that comes to mind is pampering. i envision extravagance and luxury. since “self-care” relates to self, it must vary widely from person to person, and it can’t be performative.
it may not be as simple and leisurely as entertainment, it’s taking responsibility for yourself. it may not be thoroughly enjoyable, otherwise how can you differentiate self-care from distraction? if self-care is essential and distraction is deviating, what is the determining factor that makes self-care worthwhile? self-worth. self-worth is the seed from which self-care continues to flourish and reproduce itself.
to care for the self is to find oneself worthy. self-care requires self-worth, self-worth can be built and improved through self-care tactics. this is an expression of self-love. in my last post, i talked about discipline and goals and battling self-sabotage and all of those things deal with pressure. too much pressure feels like suffocation and stress. even when you build poetic theories to justify the dramatics of it, the pressure point longs to be liberated. gentleness. ease. softness. not pressed, but caressed. discarding. lightening up. letting go.
it’s making choices that reflect your belief in your own greater good. it’s accepting that we may have a future that surpasses our temporary lack of will. i think there’s a million and one ways a person can pick themselves up, recalibrate within, shift and push though inertia and stagnation. self-care is a phrase that explains itself: to care for the self. the act of caring turned inward. to illuminate your own vessel through angling mirrors that trickle through your whole being.
the freedom of operating without self-worth or low self-worth is that you live without feeling consequences for your actions. but it’s not a worthwhile trade-off. you won’t be fulfilled because you’ll be stuck reacting to the mess around you, or having other people clean up after you. there’s another freedom: the joyful liberated feeling that doesn’t escape its issues but embraces fully: freedom from distraction. freedom from distraction is freedom from destruction. freedom from destruction is freedom to create.
getting specific about self-care practices individualized for you requires self-examination. what do you like about yourself? through your eyes, what makes your existence worthy?
self-worth is the noun
self-care is the verb
self-worth recognizes the diamond within
self-care excavates and refines it
pressure can shatter glass
pressure can make diamonds
pressure can make a bruise
pressure can stop a wound from bleeding
one day i will die
i will live forever
i am made of diamonds
but i still bleed too
EXERCISE: on a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle to make two columns. on one side, write “self-worth” on the other side. write “self-care” on the top of the other column.
what comes naturally to you as a gift or talent may not be what you enjoy or vice versa. exploring self-worth requires you to reflect on your values and impose them on your existence. what about yourself do you find worthy? worthy of your attention, worthy of being shared, worthy of appreciation. the worth is the what, the care is the how. how do you care for yourself?
for instance, if you’re brilliant and you know it, intellect is a source of self worth. the mind is a terrible thing to waste. so in the first column, you would write “smarts” and in the second column, write things to do to keep your mind sharp and growing. visit library, watch lectures, take online course. these items go in the self-care section. if your self-worth is tied with your physical appearance, it makes sense that your self-care section includes grooming like getting a mani/pedi or your hair done or going shopping.
i want to find balance, i’m going to reach balance, not be a cliche artist, swinging between the extremes of grandiose narcissism to crippling self-doubt, juggling a god complex and fragile sense of mortality. whatever it is, align self-care with personal sense of self-worth. no one else can show you how to self-care, it’s not a product to be bought or process to be taught.
self-care is also about willfully resisting urges that are bad for you, things that are not aligned with the highest expression of your potential. completely ignore any temptation to self-destruct. starve whatever delusions you have about yourself or others. focus energy into re-invention, envision what you do want. just because bad things happening are true doesn’t mean you should continue to expect it, because with expecting it you are preemptively accepting it. always reach higher from a place of positivity, the foundation being self-respect. it takes self-respect to restrain from letting laziness ruin your life.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
life has been happening faster than i can share
i suffer because i expect. not just anything, but greatness. i expect greatness. success. if not luxury, at least comfort. i know i have it, i am it. at some point everything i have was exactly what i wanted. i know i am a master manifestor, i know everything i need is within. but there’s knowing and then there’s doing and when you know better you do better but sometimes it’s so hard to do what you know, even though you know it. at times i want to run backwards at the same velocity in which i spent my youth rushing forward. i know better. i’m still young. the pressure creates a physical blockage, the kind where it’s easy to write to-do lists but hard to get up and do it. i struggle with feeling like i’ve wasted my life. i struggle with self-worth. i know i’m valuable and worthy, i feel like i’ve been partially crippled with a mix of early praise and alienation which has given me an obsessive entitlement to success, however i define it at the time. you have to push through fire to turn the wall into a bridge. i had a really hard week then a really good week and then another week passed before i could write about the hard week. your faith has to outweigh your fears. trust in the divine timing of things. your destiny is greater than your doubts, nothing that is meant for you can evade you.