Specific Self Care Strategies
Increased Well-Being IS Possible: The Paradigm Shift That It Takes
As we have discussed in other posts, the way we interpret our experience results in a certain set of feelings. If we interpret things differently, a different set of feelings will result from the same experience. And our feelings, for most of us, for most of the time, are our motivation for any action.
We have also said that as we begin our lives, we are all told who we are and what is expected of us and what to value. Many of us don’t question that message, and go about fulfilling the roles we are told and expected to play, and living out the values of others and the culture, as they have been passed down to us.
But these messages cannot include information that we can only get through our inner being—listening to ourselves, and considering what the intact part of ourselves may have to say about our life and experience. And, if we do start to listen, we will begin to notice that what others say and believe may not fit what feels right to us.
This is the moment when we may notice the fork in the road, a choice that leads us to either continuing to play out the script we were handed at birth, or instead, starting to look within for a more personal and unique version of what our life is about. The interpretation, or perspective, that we choose at this intersection results in one of two possibilities: we will define ourselves according to others’ ideas of us, or we will define ourselves according to our own internal intuitive wisdom.
The path to true self care is the second of these two. To take it, we will need to shift our interpretation, our paradigm. If our feelings tell us we should be fearful about challenging, so to speak, the powers that be, we may take the fork in the road that is cautious, and continue to follow the script established for us at birth. If our feelings, on the other hand, tell us that something doesn’t feel right, doesn’t seem to fit about that script, we don't feel in sync with it, or something feels vaguely empty or hollow or even bad about that script, we may be motivated to take the fork that is not as well known, the fork that leads us to interpret experience through our own internal guidance, our intuitive wisdom.
To do that, to start down that fork, there are three new notions—core notions—that we must embrace.
These three Core Notions are:
1)A willingness to consider that who we are may not be the person our family and our culture has taught us to be and thought us to be—but someone more…good, worthwhile, loveable, without conditions. 2)A willingness to focus on the positive and joyful parts of life, and detach or dis-identify with negativity (including judging, self-judging, self doubt, blame, criticism, shame, guilt, and negative sense of self, etc.), and 3)A willingness to look within and listen for information from our “Wise Adult Caring Self,” (our intuitive wisdom), the part of ourselves that knows how to parent ourselves or re-parent ourselves in honoring, safe, valuing, and empowered ways (See the Self Care Posts and Attachment Posts on this website).
If we are willing to deliberately look at and modify our perspective and interpretations so that they line up with these core aspects of ourselves, these core notions, (if we shift the paradigm), increased well-being and joy and self love WILL result.
The net change will be that we insist on seeing ourselves and others in increasingly positive ways. Over time we can learn to create no space to interpret anything in our lives—our being, our thoughts, our feelings, others, the world, life itself—in anything but ever more positive ways.
Greater confidence, safety, joy, and well being, when they exist in humankind, are the result of living consciously in this way.
Those who have figured out that loving and caring for themselves first and in a balanced way are the ones in this world who are able to be the most kind, generous, open, clear, and satisfied in their relationships with not only themselves, but with others and the world. They are also the most aware, confident, creative, and compassionate.
To the degree that we hold on to childhood messages that we are anything else but good and worthy and whole; to the degree that we focus on any negative thoughts, feelings, or energy; and to the degree that we don’t listen to, trust, and act on our inner truth—we can expect not to experience well being.
The formula is straightforward: value ourselves positively, focus on the positive possibilities, and listen to our inner wisdom It is 100% successful. And it remains a decision, a choice each of us gets to make.
Other Self Care Posts on this site talk a lot about the reasons we are mostly brainwashed into believing that we should doubt and question ourselves, and that we should see ourselves as somehow not simply good and fine as we are. Since the brainwashing, training, and childhood messages are so insistent, and because we are so vulberable as children, Core Notion #1 assumes a special importance. This first of the three core notions—that we simply are fine and good—is the essential and pivotal master key!
The way we come to this notion of our worthiness is a practice. Unless we were raised in a highly secure and loving environment and our important relationships were unequivocally loving, we all have some work to do here.
We first have to consider the possibility that we are not defective, but intact.
Then we imagine how we would be and act in the world if we were simply good and fine.
Then we act as if it were true, or try it on like we might try on some new clothes to see if they fit, if we like them, if we look good in them.
Then we wear them, and we see what we learn and how we feel.
Trying on this new set of clothes looks like this:
I engage the world differently. I consciously move toward
-loving myself/loving others -honoring myself/honoring others -respecting myself/respecting others
in my everyday dealings with myself and others.
In addition to being more aware of engaging in the world differently, I begin the more significant work of relating to my inner being in a different, more respectful and thoughtful way.
-I take myself seriously -I slow things down internally enough to notice, sense, feel, and know -I tell the truth to myself (and others)—I act with integrity -I work to be as conscious as I can as much as I can -I practice self soothing -I practice liking myself -I practice choosing to be alone -I manage my emotions (Core Notion #2) -I interrupt old negative thoughts and tapes, immediately, and I write a new positive and self affirming script that I deliberately say to myself instead, and -I begin to create an enduring, open, truthful, caring relationship with myself.
I may begin to notice the self I am becoming aware of and starting to love a bit more, and contrast that with the feelings and perspective I was raised and trained with. I may start to feel almost like I am coming out of a trance and beginning to find a deeper, wiser, preciously loveable sense of self within.
-I pay more attention to my inner wisdom and intuition (Core Notion #3), and don’t immediately interpret my experience the way others do or the ways I have been taught to by others -I trust my intuitive truth -I begin to learn to look at my life now in a positive light, act out of possibility, imagine a positive present and future, and begin to create that—as an empowered, joyful, and confident me -I work toward not letting my past understanding of who I was and the pain that I suffered as that self shape who I am and can be now.
As I start to treat myself with greater kindness and regard, I relate to others from a different sense inside me.
-I set boundaries and build bridges -I take 100 percent responsibility for my behavior, and allow others to take responsibility for themselves -I begin to create enduring, open, truthful, caring relationships -I begin to nurture others—not to please them or to feel more worthy or important because of my actions—but because loving myself more just flows into greater loving, appreciation, and connection with others -I begin to consciously create positive, satisfying, and constructive possibilities in my life, for me and for others -I create what I can, and accept the rest -I learn, grow, and love with a big smile, because that’s the point of it all!
These specific practices represent a map and a path toward a sense of our being an intact self, a self that contributes to the human race and feels good about who we are as we do so. If we take this practice on, consciously, deliberately, consistently, increased well being is not only possible. It is well-being!
Be well, and enjoy.