~ A guest post by Anne Peterson sharing her struggle with self-care. ~
I hated her, plain and simple. And I knew it was wrong, but every time I saw her I was filled with disgust. The problem was, I saw her every time I looked into the mirror.
I’ll admit it, I used to hate myself.
Not quite sure when it started, maybe when the image in the mirror looked heavier than what I remembered her to be. Or maybe it was that I felt guilty because I couldn’t forgive myself.
But things are changing. I’m learning to take care of me.
I struggle, but not like I did.
I wouldn’t say I hate myself now, but there are times I’m not very nice to me.
And if there was a list of people to take care of, I’d be last. No. the truth is, I wouldn’t even be on the list.
But I am taking small steps. If any of you have struggled with self-care, maybe what I’m learning will help you.
I’ve come to see we only care for what we care about.
I realized I needed to care more about me.
Conversations with myself were definitely one area I could work on.I’ve come to see we only care for what we care about. Click To Tweet
Changing how I talk to myself
Did you ever notice we use different tones when we talk to different people? And they can change in one second.
Have you ever been upset with someone and the phone rings and you pick it up with a completely different tone, “Hi, how are you?”
I notice I have a special tone for my grandchildren. A tone I find soothing and inviting.
I once asked my grandson, “Jude, do you know I love you?” And he replied, “How could I NOT know?”
I like the Grandma in me. My grandma tone is gentle and saturated with grace.
Even when they do something wrong, which is almost never, the little sweethearts will hear, “Oh, no, don’t touch that, it might break, and then it would hurt you.”
I feel good when I use gentleness.
But I’m not gentle when I talk to me. Instead, I’m almost yelling, “How could you do that? What is the matter with you?”
One day, I decided to change things.
The next time I made a mistake, I chose my words carefully, as if I were talking to a friend.
Instead of heaping on shame, and chastising myself, I heard myself say, “That’s okay Anne. You’re human. It’s gonna to be okay. It’s not the end of the world.”
I’m learning to tell myself things I wish would have been said to me.
I wrap them in gentleness.
They go down nice and smoothly too.I feel good when I use gentleness. Click To Tweet
But self-care involves more than just words.
There are other lessons I needed to learn.
Teaching myself to have fun
It’s a funny commercial. One turtle is talking to another and finally asks, “Why don’t you like fun.”
I laugh instinctively, but then I feel a sting. The little guy turtle could have been talking to me.
He was talking to me.
About a month ago a friend of mine handed me an envelope. Tucked inside a beautiful note was a gift card to an Italian restaurant. A sizable gift card.
What a nice thing to do, right? But inside I cringed.
The gesture was very generous, but now it meant I would be going out and I didn’t do that. I thought it was just because money was tight, but here I was with a gift card and I still didn’t want to go out.
I knew how to work and keep working. I did not know how to just have fun.
I did not know how to just have fun.
Fun was for other people and some turtles, not for me.
A couple of weeks later, my friend asked if I got a chance to try out the restaurant. Finally, with tears, I admitted my problem.
She had such compassion as she promised to pray for me.
“Just let me know when you try it,” she added.
I could tell she really wanted me to have some fun. She told me that God had prompted her to give me that gift. So he was in on it too.
As our wedding anniversary approached I asked God to help me. I wanted to go out.
True, part of me wanted to check it off my to do list. But there was another part that really wanted to try and have fun.
And God answered my prayers.
I saw my friend and was able to thank her in person for the great time I had.
Was it fun? It was after I talked myself into it.
It’s hard for me to relax.
And yet, peace is one of the fruits of the spirit. God would help me, I was sure.
Learning how to relax
I remember the day clearly. My husband had just come in the house and was watching me as I instructed the kids to put their toys away.
“Why are you ordering the kids around like little robots?” he asked me in the other room.
“Put this there, take this here. They are just running back and forth.”
“I’m just telling them to clean up,” I responded defensively.
“No,” he said. You are following them around picking up the very things they’re still playing with. Why can’t you just relax?”
And there it was. I had become my mom in still another way.
I don’t ever remember her just sitting down with a magazine, or putting her feet up. In fact, one New Year’s Eve I remember us getting ready to play a game. And I was shocked when I saw my mom pull up a chair to join us.
It was the one time I can remember.
Because it was the only time.
And years later, there I was in her tired footsteps.
God decided to help me break this habit.
No. it didn’t happen with my own children who are now grown.
It happened with my grandchildren.
Once again, I remembered what it was like to play.
When they come over, I have fun. I get down on the floor and play with them.
We have made Lego constructions to die for, we have played categories, we’ve played store using little adding machines. We’ve done crafts, and Candyland more times than I can count.
Yes, I know how to work, and they are showing me how to play.
It’s about how we treat ourselves.
Hi, I’m Anne and learning how to talk nicer to myself, how to relax and how to have fun. Wanna play Scrabble?
Self-care. It’s about how we treat ourselves. Click To Tweet
- Can you relate to Anne? Let her know in the comments.
- Know someone this would help? Please share.
- If you don’t have it yet, get Love’s Manifesto here and know you deserve to be loved and cared for.
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Featured photo of woman looking at her reflection is courtesy of www.jessicapetersonart.com
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