On Self Care

Words: Alex Elle

June 20 2016

Manifesting greatness, peace and the love of self in my life was no walk in the park. It took a lot of unraveling, shifting and being uncertain. Often when it comes to self-care, we forget the importance of creating boundaries while attempting to take steps in the direction of self-improvement and evolution. It’s not always the easiest or the most comfortable to take a step back and retreat into yourself, but it’s essential to growth and sanity, to protecting the magic that’s within.

Personally, what I have learned on my self-care journey is this: unwinding, decompressing and saying “no” are musts in my growth and healing process. And doing so in a healthy way was something that took practice. Lots of practice. For years, I let the comfort of being surrounded by others dictate how I moved in life. My biggest fear at one point in time was how others saw me; my validation was wrapped tightly in being accepted by everyone but myself. I tried to mold and shape and bend into something that I wasn’t, all for the sole purpose of appeasing outsiders. I allowed people to move freely in and out of my life, as though it was a revolving door, without creating safe spaces or healthy boundaries. Externally, I was drained; internally, I was struggling. As scary as it was to start the process of making crucial life changes, I knew that certain things in my life had to be revamped. Some people had to be let go, and some, let down. Most importantly, I had to be all right with that. Talk about stressful!

 

Transitioning into my self-care practice was lonely, and it was not fun. Cutting ties, losing friends, and saying “no” without being swallowed by guilt were complicated concepts to wrestle with, but they were necessary. One way I started implementing honor and respect for myself was by stepping away when I needed alone time. In the beginning of this awkward transition, taking “me time” felt selfish and borderline rude. For some reason, I didn’t feel worth the love and time I gave to others so freely… Unhealthy Attachments 101. However, I quickly learned that self-care is not selfish, it saves lives. Literally—for all parties involved. Learning to live in a way that put me first and others second was revolutionary for many reasons. But, the main reason, which still satisfies me the most to this day, is the attention I can give others after I have nurtured myself. When I cater to the home front, I can show up for others in a way that is rewarding for all parties. On my journey, I realized that I could not be present and love anyone else fully until I learned to love and care for myself.

Stepping into self-care was like getting to know myself all over again. Being unapologetically “me” was challenging, rewarding and humbling all at once. Finding ways to be free, build boundaries and not worry that my entire world would shatter around me was mind-blowing. It took a while for me to understand that creating boundaries was not the same as building barriers. Now, I can indulge in things that fill me up, and in turn, I can pour freely into those around me. These days, I can say no with ease and confidence without the attachment of guilt, fear, and uncertainty. My voyage to and through self-care has been undoubtedly rewarding. The greatest gift so far is the people around me. I feel understood instead of judged. I feel seen and accepted without the unhealthy yearning for validation to make me whole. Most of all, everyone in my life, myself included, respects the safe and sacred spaces that I have worked so hard to create.

There’s no question in my mind that diving into self-care and showing up for myself in a way that was bold, brave, and well balanced immensely enhanced the life I live. Every day I make sure that I am present within myself, so I can journey into the world to both do and be my best. Today, my sense of self, peace of mind and understanding starts and ends with me. No matter how long it took, or how many hurdles I will face along the way, my foundation is set, my healthy boundaries are built and I am fulfilled. We all deserve to come home to ourselves and be happy with what we have manifested. Taking care of my mental, physical and emotional state has helped mend my life in a way that is unmatched. Everyone deserves this feeling, and I encourage and advocate for arriving into who you are – even if you’re a little uncomfortable doing so along the way.

Alex Elle is a writer and maker, you can follow her work online or on instagram

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