26. Embracing The Self (And Self Love)

“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

This is the final post in my series on relationships. As previously mentioned, the time has come to get this all out coherently, so bear with me. It will be broken down into three separate posts (1. Learning To Be More Open and 2. Accepting Fear) so that this isn’t too overbearing.

Self love

Caring for Others

Currently in my life the self comes second to caring for others. I know I need to change that, although I still feel the need to care for those around me as a higher need. I’ve been caring for a sick parent to varying degrees (dependent on where in the UK I was) since I was 16, making that almost 7 years now. I don’t regret taking on this responsibility (gosh no!), as I see it as my duty? Our parents do so much for us in ensuring that we are supported during the start of our lives (well at least most of them do), so it almost feels logical to help them when they need it.

The need to serve others also comes to mind when thinking about the self. I don’t just mean those close to me, as then I’d just be repeating myself. I mean feeling the need to help others in whatever way humanly possible- anything to simplify life after all. A Mormon teaching on the importance of serving comes to mind when discussing the need to serve others; having said that, being helpful has been in my nature long before religion came into my life.

What forms the self?

Two words immediately spring to mind if I use ‘self’ as my base point.

The first word is solo. Solitude and being ‘solo’ gives you time to look internally and discover. Discover who you truly are and learn to accept/love who that person is that you truly are. Of course that can be clouded by self doubt, but love wasn’t formed in a day!

The second word is selfish. I know what you’re thinking. ‘How can learning to accept and love yourself make you selfish?’ Fun fact: It doesn’t. What I’m in fact saying is the opposite- not taking the time to accept and love yourself is selfish. If you’re not willing to take the time to be at one with yourself and accepting of who you are, how on earth can you expect anyone else to?

Self Love is Essential.

Taking the time to accept each morsel of you and ensure that you are balanced is essential. I know that if I don’t take time out for myself to do the things that I love (such as writing on this blog!) then I will quickly slip back into a deep depression, making me useless to both myself and the people around me that I wish to care for.

Let me make this clear. Self love doesn’t have to be materialistic! It could be as simple as writing in a journal or singing along to your favourite music; as long as it relaxes you, that’s all that matters. Dedicating time to build lego kits is self love for me because it’s a focused topic with eye catching results, but what you do is your choice!

That’s all for now! To conclude I’d like to say this:

Be selfish. Say no if you have to. Your ‘self’ is more important than anything else, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

05. he(ll)th

It’s the end of the first semester, I’ve had three deadlines, my lymph glands feel swollen, I’m still on 10 prescription tablets per day and my health has been a bit of a blur. But I’m oddly grateful for it all; it teaches me to take care of my body with more gratitude.

My physical body may not be as sound as it once was, but my ability to learn and grow mentally is still very much working. I still love to read, play, learn and create as much as I did as a child, if not more so now. I love to think on my own terms in order to get a better result, even if that is out of schedule with the environment around me. As long as results are produced then it’s fine, right?
This is why I describe my health as he(ll)th.It takes away so much physical time to just be and to feel, along with providing opportunistic sympathy which plays back as false. It’s enough to make me want to survive from home, mixed with a desire to do things a normal 22 year old would do (whatever that is).

But in spite of everything, I’m thankful for it all. I’m glad that my body signals to me when it needs me to slow down, but also when it allows me to work it to its limits in physical activity. I’m thankful for the asthma that reminds me to take time out to breathe. I’m also thankful that my body makes it immediately apparent when I need to rest, as without that I would, like many people, work myself into the ground! I’m grateful for the scars that remind me of a darker past, as they remind me of how much greater the present is.

It’s taken several years, but I never felt so thankful for the body I’m in. Yet at the same time, my health is still just that. It’s hell.

Enjoying what you see? Spread the word!