As I browsed my Facebook timeline this morning, I saw a number of posts speaking to personal, deeply personal issues many of my Facebook friends have been going through. Most of it was related to illness. Other posts were related to attempted suicide and survival, still other posts were related to dating or the attempt to find a suitable mate. Some people were facing diagnostic tests and surgeries while others were reflecting on how far they have come on their journey. No matter what the circumstance was I am thankful that they had the courage and conviction to share what they had gone through. Their testimony can lead to a breakthrough or deliverance for someone else.
As I reflect, there were many things that I have experienced in my life and I am thankful that God has given me the strength and at times the platform to share my life experiences. I was the product of teenage parents, yet I did not repeat the cycle. I have had various family members that were addicted to alcohol or drugs, which had significant impacts not just on my life but on the lives of other family members as well. I was molested as a child and I have endured health challenges and relationship issues. But through it all, I survived, I looked for lessons to be learned and I became a better person because of what I experienced and in spite of what I experienced.
For people of faith we know that if it had not been for the Lord on our side… For those who are not people of faith, I am not sure where your strength and endurance comes from maybe role models or strong support system, but for those who believe, in the absence of role models and support systems we go to the Rock! It tales strength and courage to make it through those challenges that seem impossible to bear. It takes even more strength and courage to talk about your experiences and to be a beacon of hope for others. What I have learned is that as you GROW through what you GO through the lesson is lost on you. It is more so for others so that they can see God in you and know that THIS TOO SHALL PASS.
Stop suffering in silence. We were not meant to do that. We were meant to be a blessing to others, but, know that you cannot be a blessing until you have healed and dealt with the issues that you face. You don’t want to try to help someone when you are still in the throes of your experiences. Once you have healed, whether it be getting help from a professional, working on your own issues, reaching out to those who love you make sure to NOT suffer in silence. And know that there is always a rainbow after the rain.
A recent conversation with my female co-workers moved to the topic of what we do to care for ourselves. One co-worker was preparing to get her first bikini wax for her new husband. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with that we got into the conversation about grooming and it made me wonder what do we do for ourselves, not for our partners, our children or others. What do we do to care for ourselves.
I know that when I was celibate I got my first and only bikini wax. No one told me to not wear jeans, and no one told me to prepare for hours of throbbing. While the pain subsided I was very aware of the fact that something happened. But I did it for me. There was not the big date, the new spouse or the anticipation of what was to come. It was simply something I wanted to try and something I wanted to do for myself.
Other than that experience, my self care practices have always been apart of my regular routine. Whether it be going to the spa several times a year (I try for quarterly) or whether it is the bi-weekly trip to the nail salon for the mani-pedi, I try to take those moments away from everything to enjoy myself and to get some respite from the day to day grind that life brings. Now those are thing that I do that cost money.
I love baths. There is nothing like lounging in the hot tub either by candle light or with a good book. Or maybe it is a bath with a glass of wine or essential oils. Maybe it is an old school bath with bubbles or epsom salts. Whatever type of bath it may be there is nothing that can take the edge off like a hot bath. Another thing that can be done at home is an evening cup of tea. I keep a variety of flavored teas in my house. Some nights after a long day, there is nothing like grabbing my favorite mug and selecting the flavor of tea I wish to indulge in for the evening. The most important thing I do for my self is prayer and meditation. This is something that can be done anywhere, anytime, just take the time to get still and to spend that quality, quiet time with yourself and your higher power.
No matter what you do or how you do it, it is important to be good to yourself. It is important to make the time and do something for yourself. It is important to practice self-care because it is important for your mental, emotional and physical well being. Self care is not a selfish practice, it is more about self love and recharging so you have more to give. Loving yourself is the best you can do before loving anything else. So the next time you have a hard day or the next time you are feeling stressed, think about what you can do to give the best care for yourself.