For as long as I can remember I had the belief that looking after myself was a waste of time and focus and that it was rather selfish.
When an acute illness became chronic my beliefs about self-care didn’t change, and for many years I really struggled to look after myself and to feel worthy of care and fulfillment in that circumstance.
When I found the Balanced View training I was not convinced at all that being gentle with myself was a clever approach. Surely I had to beat this and push myself in every possible way in order to be a worthwhile person.
I could not even see that that approach had never worked and had participated in making the illness much worse.
It took me a few years to be bold enough to test out what it feels like to really relax and rest, to learn what it means to be truly kind to myself while facing everything that comes up fully.
The support of the Four Mainstays has been priceless in that.
As I started to see my belief systems around self-care more clearly, I also started to see that I am much more efficient, stable, kind and fulfilled when I know what my needs are and how to meet them in a responsive, clear and mature way.
I love learning to parent myself in this way and I can really say I started from the beginning.
For me it took a lot of humility to see that I needed role models in kindness and gentleness, and it also challenged my ideas about what resting means.
I love that I can take one short moment of complete rest at any time, in any situation, whether I am bed-bound or having a day where things are easier.
To know that I can rest all ideas, feelings, descriptions and speculations is an immense treasure every day.
Sometimes self-care looks like a nap, or joining a Clarity Call, writing to my trainer, listening to a talk, reading the beautiful texts, sometimes it looks like a moment of quiet reflection, or looking at my plants, sometimes it looks like eating nourishing food or talking to a friend, sometimes it is creating something.
In the training I was not given a recipe book for how to take care of myself, but empowered to see in each moment what is needed, and empowered to not be afraid of the data that is constantly changing in such a random way.
Instead of focusing on how I feel and how I want to change that, the focus naturally started to be on solutions in a fluid way which amazes me every day.
I never thought I would say that I know exactly how to care for myself now. That confidence is very valuable, because the illness is still a large part of my circumstances, and instead of resisting it and trying to become who I wish I was, I am able to care for the person that I am right now without pretense and with much less victimhood.
I am very grateful for that and it frees up some space for finding things that I can do with great joy and without harming myself.
Thank you so much for this easeful relationship with myself which really makes a difference in how I relate to everyone. Gaelle