The one thing I have learned from my mental health endeavour is that, I was a people pleaser; I often created needs for people which were not there. This on top of suffering from a mental disorder put more pressure on myself, I created the demand which I initially placed on myself. How I got there, when I was constantly talking about self care on social media and various platforms? I had not yet reached a place where I would be true to myself.
Putting others before me was a distraction from my pain, it was a way to 'save' others when I myself was drowning; a distraction. I was addicted to carrying the world on my shoulders, when my shoulders were broken. I would starve so that others would eat, I would die on hills for people who would never even move a mountain for me. I put myself in places where I was treated unkindly, just for the sake of the little bit of acceptance that I was craving. This added to my mental health issues, it was bad. I dated the same men with different names- men who I chose, who never chose me.
When I woke up on the fourth day in rehab, I decided to try this healing process out, give it a shot if it works it works, if I pretended long enough that the program was working they would discharge me, and I would attempt suicide- and hopefully someone wouldn't find my unconscious body this time. Little did I know that I would be confronted with one of the major reasons why I was in the valley that I was in... I lacked self care, I did not care for my emotions, my body and my mind. It became evident with every class that I attended that I never learned to love myself, me trying to save others along with my people pleasing was a way that I was trying to love others hoping they would love me back. I was trying to love myself through others, and it was not working. You can never buy affection. I also learned that people care for who and what they want to care for, you cannot teach someone to love you if you do not love or care for yourself... And yes, it's true people follow your lead, what I mean by that is that, sometimes not all the time, people treat you how you treat yourself. It's in the human nature to try and push the boundaries, I find men tend to be the culprits on this one, because of how they have been socialised to take and not give. People may treat you terribly, until you call them out and let them face the consequences, they will never stop. That, is self care.
How did I choose to do self care? I started choosing myself, I have learned to say no without feeling guilty about it. I listen to my body, if I feel tired I sleep, if I am in a space that makes me feel uneasy I leave. I spoke about dating and meeting new people, if I don't vibe with you I stop engaging. I make my boundaries clear, and after three strikes you're out- I do not even consider a second date, let alone a relationship with you. I have become so much better at taking care of myself, to a point where everyone in my life knows their place. Boundaries are the key to self care. There are also activities that I have incorporated consistently which keep me centred, and keep me rooted in God. It has become simple, if God and I don't vibe with it, we are not coming. That my friends, is how I have been practicing self care. It has to begin from the inside, because you can go for the spa days, but if you are keeping company that causes you to doubt yourself you are not practicing self care. Self care is a spiritual intention, it is that deep. I pray you get to a point where you start with the inner work, and the outer work will follow. Take care of yourself.