A topic that came up this week is how so many feel that it is tough to take time out to do nurturing and nourishing things for yourself – especially at this time of the year!
The theme is that doing for others, is more important and it feels selfish when putting yourself before others. Especially when there is always so much to do for them, it’s hard just getting through the day and getting everything done.
After living for years looking after others and denying our own needs, we end up losing our zest for life and a sense of meaning and purpose. One day we wake up thinking, why bother? Why do I have to get up and just do the same thing over and over, day after day after day? We feel more like a robot, one who’s feelings have been numbed by the mindless tasks of everyday life, devoid of nourishment, fun and inspiration that we have pushed so deeply down through attending to the needs of others. Sometimes we lose the clarity of even knowing what it is that makes us feel inspired or happy anymore. We have deadened our pain by ignoring our feelings day after day, so much so, that we don’t even know who we are anymore.
When your feelings are invalidated, denied, ignored or misunderstood; a message is sent that feelings don’t matter, feelings are unacceptable and feelings are somehow wrong. If you did not receive emotional nurturing or a compassionate acceptance of your feelings, you grow up having a hard time giving this to yourself. In fact you can grow up not being sure of what your needs are, as it is not an easy habit to tune into what you do really need, deep down inside. When you make mistakes in life (which is human nature for everyone), it is a challenge to be kind and understanding. If you got into trouble a lot, or got harshly criticised, it becomes a great challenge to accept yourself unconditionally and be happy with who you are.
When you have grown up not having your feelings attended to, you do not have a healthy skill-set to learn how to deal with difficult emotions. When you inevitably experience grief, sadness, anger, frustration, loneliness, anxiety, depression, jealousy, doubt, shame, fear or desperation; you do not have healthy coping strategies. This denial of your emotional world leads you to feel disconnected, empty, lonely and as though life has no sense or meaning. And that is a very lonely and scary place to be.
When we don’t attend to our feelings and we keep them locked inside, we become isolated and cut off from what we need the most. Support and connection. It’s been proven that social connections are what we thrive on. We need to be connected, loved and needed. This is why contribution is so important. When we contribute we know that our life has meaning and purpose. When we get lost and overwhelmed in the mundane, everyday tasks that need to be done, we lose a sense of who we are and why we are here. When we attend to our innermost needs and create a healthy balance between attending to the needs of others as well as our own, we feel connected to our own heart and soul as well as that of others. Being connected to your own heart and soul is vital for healthy connections with others.
Do you think your loved ones want you to feel healthy, loving and balanced so that you are better able to take care of them? Do you think your loved ones would want you to deny yourself, your needs and desires and the things that nourish you and make you happy? Would they want you to neglect yourself and only look after them? Would they want you to feel guilty for looking after yourself and taking the time to make sure you were healthy and happy? Is your life worth taking some precious time for you so that you feel as though your life is worth living? These are important questions to ask yourself so that you can dissolve any guilt and shame about looking after yourself, as well as looking after others.
This week let us be mindful of the fact that we must nurture and nourish ourselves in order to have a healthy mind, body and soul. This allows us to then create healthy connections with others so that there is a good balance between self and others. Even though life has become overwhelming for many and it sometimes seems like there are not enough hours in the day, taking a few precious moments for you, will give you to extra energy and vitality needed to do everything else with greater happiness, ease and generosity.