As girls, we are taught to say yes, even at the expense of our own heart. As women, we can be so worried that people won’t like us, that we talk ourselves into something we don’t want. Not only is this unhealthy, but it’s dangerous! Do yourself a favor, and practice saying no. Even when you are uncomfortable, even when you don’t feel like it, saying no is like exercising a muscle, it needs repetition. No is not only a full sentence, but for many, a first step in really learning to love yourself.
When you’re dedicated to self-improvement, it’s easy to take on too much. But we’re only human and it’s important to remember people like limits. Children thrive when adults set clear boundaries. The challenge comes when you’re an adult and you must set your own. Instead of thinking about it as self-denial or even self-discipline shift your perspective. Setting boundaries is a great form of self-protection and another opportunity to figure out how to express yourself within safe confines. It’s a way to better understand who you are, what you’re comfortable with, and how you want others to treat you. Setting boundaries is integral to building a healthy relationship with yourself and others.
Most writers will tell you they’ve suffered blocks where they focus on assignments and just can’t break through. Then one day they’re walking, showering, or shopping and BOOM! It all starts flowing. Well self-care can be a lot like writing. It requires focus, reflection, and self-expression. It’s a lot, and sometimes doesn’t flow as easily as we’d like. Volunteering is a great way to get your mind off of you. While doing good for others you can break through your self-care rut and feed the part of you that naturally nurtures.
The only thing worse than not being able to think of a perfect comeback in the moment is when you know exactly what you want to say but don’t. With generations of women being taught to be seen and not heard, it’s easy to fall into silence even when you have something valid to say. Part of self-care is recognizing that what’s within you is of value, and that includes your words. It may take practice to get out what you want to say, but don’t let that stop you. Sometimes I have to rehearse so that the words are really mine and I believe them. Your words are important. Don’t let them go unspoken.
Between all the online petitions circulating it’s easy to feel like signing your name is enough, but if you’ve ever gone to a rally in person you know THAT actually showing up makes all the difference. Just like texting with friends about planning to meet is different than actually hanging out. One is about aligning your good intentions; the other is about aligning your actions to your values. When we show up, we share a commitment to a result; even if it’s a great night out with friends. In our digital world, it can feel easier to hide behind a screen, but nothing replaces the thrill of honoring your word and being there for yourself and others.
In our effort to resist this administration’s hateful policies and rhetoric, it’s important that we recognize the power in each other. It’s not just about marching side-by-side or rocking a safety pin. For too long, too many of us have been bystanders instead of upstanders, and “allies” instead of accomplices (shout out to my friend Luvvie for that idea). Part of forming strong alliances is acting on those connections. Challenge yourself to not only learn about other people’s experiences but also actively support and defend their rights with the same fervor you do your own. Embracing intersectionality is key to achieving justice.
It’s no secret that we’re stronger together and we all need each other right now. Let’s get in formation together. Join my community: http://bit.ly/JessCommunityNotes
Sometimes after mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, I get exhausted. The compare and despair syndrome that comes with online voyeuristic life gazing can be frustrating and leave you feeling empty. So, do yourself a favor and use this crazy cyberland to make a new connection! Follow someone who posts about different interests and topics. Find someone who stimulates you and inspires you (not just raises your blood pressure) and then (gasp), maybe we take this over into our real lives and actually talk to humans we don’t know! Or better yet, humans we know but could deepen our relationship with. When we focus on quality interactions of a new connection, the world looks so much brighter and much less gloomy and doomy.
I’m not always the best at receiving compliments (I’m working on it!), but I’m great at giving them. That’s why I can attest that a good way to practice self-care is to tell someone why you love them. Not only is it nice to let someone know that you do, but also when you can articulate why — it gives you a deeper appreciation of ALL the good that is in your life.
When my husband and I wrote our vows, we pledged to the 7 principles we felt were the foundation of our relationship and a good marriage. One of them was self-love. Without knowing how to love and support ourselves, we wouldn’t be as strong as a union. So don’t forget to nurture the most important relationship you have in this life – YOU!
Take yourself on a date: eat alone, see a movie, take a dance lesson, travel the world. Picture your perfect date, and as long as it doesn’t involve tandem bicycling, you’re good to go at it alone! 🙂