One challenging aspect of being a therapist is to not simply pay lip service to what is suggested to clients in their consideration of growth and change. I believe that a therapist is only as good as their own personal life. Now it is true that it is not appropriate to share my personal life details because therapy is intended for the growth of the client, but if I make suggestions and do not live by them, then for me, I am simply a liar suggesting to others that they should change their life, while I am wildly and knowingly making the same mistakes. And the most difficult for me , STAY HOME when sick!
For a small business owner, no work equals no pay. It is difficult for those of us that run their own business because we know that others genuinely count on us to be present. In my case, it is not like I can call in a substitute to take over. That would be an ethical violation worth loosing my license over! None the less, the art of self care is always a difficult task especially when we want to make sure others are aware of how important they are in our lives.
I have had countless sessions over the years on the Art of Self Care. I find the idea of putting yourself at the bottom of your list curious and absurd. I understand that everywhere we turn our community, society at large and even religion tells us that we are to operate daily like the sacrificial lamb, putting all people ahead of ourselves. The last time I checked, when I ride around on empty, really, ‘E’ means there is nothing and you will be dead on the side of the road. You cannot give of yourself when you needs emotionally, physically, spiritually and sexually are tanked. Worse than that, we make statements about how family or close friends are at the top of our list while we are dead last; therefore they are farthest away from us. It is a farce, at best, to say that we will give of our time, attention and energy to family and friends when we have to trickle the energy up the list in desperation to even share what may be left with those that mean the most to us.
If we do not put ourselves at the top of our list, yes, I even mean before our children, everyone and everything in your life gets a half-ass version of us. If we are not well and fully present then how can anyone expect us to genuinely give of ourselves? How can I call myself a decent therapist if I promote extreme self sacrifice as a tenant of a happy life? I understand that over the years, I have been accused of being selfish and I understand that what I write goes against a great deal of what the world tries to tell us. But the last I checked, a person that does not participate in the consistent act of self care, with intention, on a regular basis, is running on empty. When we stop sacrificing our needs, everyone around us will get the best that we have to offer.
The Act of Self Care does not require taking up a new hobby or adventure, although it may. It is remembering to do the little things consistently that allow us to maintain emotional clarity. This includes getting enough rest, exercise, eating well, playing just for fun and remembering to relax with intention. It is normal to fear how we will be perceived when we say, “NO”. We all have to regularly fight off the urge to be perceived as perfect. We do not want to admit the possible shame surrounded by being seen as weak. However, when we truly show ourselves, flawed and with limitation, just like the rest of us, that is when we are truly courageous. So, while I attempt to allow my body to heal from my now five days of illness and am certain me and this bed are one, I continue to wrestle with the urge that I am super human. But instead, I will do as I should and take another nap.
Be Well and Live. Out. Loud.