"Take care of yourself"
Boy! That phrase always gave me a hard time. I know the people who said it to me meant well, but I could never figure out how to do it. I could feel their good intentions and their genuine concerns, but I just was helpless in executing their recommendations.
When I asked them "But how do I do that?", they would give me examples that did not resonate with me. I could hear answers like:
- Take a bubble bath with a candle.
- Go get a massage.
- Go get a facial.
- Go buy some new clothes.
- Have a treat.
- Relax and read a book.
All good advice, but I could not get myself to enjoy these possibilities. I would say "Yes, thank you. " to them, but in my head, a little voice would say:
- I don't need another bath. I'm clean.
- I don't want to spend money on a massage, on a facial or on clothes that I won't fit me anyway. I will wait until I lose the weight, before I buy anything.
- I don't have time to read a book.
The only advice I took was about the treats. Oh! Yes! Those treats, I sure deserved them. Eating and drinking to comfort and reward myself, I sure knew how to do that. But then, I would feel guilty and mad about the consequences. A true catch 22 situation. Damned if you eat because you will gain weight, damned if you don't because food will bring you comfort.
What I realise now, is that it was ME who was not ready to get the true meaning of these advises.
As as was hearing them, I was really thinking:
- You are not supposed to do activities that do you good. You are only supposed to do good to others. Thinking about yourself is selfish!
- You are not supposed to relax when all the problems of the world are still around. Relaxing is laziness. Being lazy is bad. You are supposed to work, work, work for others, until you crash!
- Your body is not important. If you take time to take care of yourself, you are superficial! The mind is the only element of yourself you should value!
And so, I was stuck in a quagmire way too complicated for me. So I kept on working, giving, being as perfect as I could, gaining weight, until THE CRASH, a complete dysfunctional, go to the emergency, type of mental breakdown, ignited by my mother's death. That was five years ago. And even though I recuperated from it and went back to work, the anxiety came back last spring. Yep! I had not treated the pain at the source, and therefore it resurfaced.
Somehow, this time, something changed in my brain's wiring. I started to realise how the body is essential to the mind, and vice versa. I could not get really well without TAKING CARE OF BOTH! And now, that whole "Take care of yourself" business was starting to make sense.
I looked for advice on the net, and found SparkPeople. Ever since, I know what it means to take care of myself, and I do it, every minute of the day, without neglecting others and without being lazy or superficial.
Thank you SparkPeople.