Self-care to me is when with intention, one engages in activities that make them feel good about themselves and their surroundings.
Below is a poem by Hugh Clement titled A recipe for happiness that outlines his “self-care tips”. May it shed light on the diversity of the beauty that comes with individuality and self-understanding. To appreciate ourselves as plain and as complex as we come.
I do not serve to guide people in their healing, but rather to outline my own self-healing and the path I’ve walked. I know not more than what my own life experience affords me, and this is not enough to project on others.
We have different life experiences, and we are not stimulated by the same background. It is worth knowing and understanding yourself, otherwise any information you consume, even the littlest suggestion may be unhealthy for you.
Self-healing should not be tied to outcome. Do not have a set goal on where your healing should take you. As that sought outcome presents itself to you, you may tie yourself around it, denying yourself further development. I see this as seeking an escape, and finding it instead of having the courage to constantly confront one’s own self and healing.
My self-care tips include – Paying my dues. I have little expectations from the things and people around me, but the arm I’ve been given to play. When making decisions, honour them. When given tasks, deliver. Watch how things unfold for and from you. *Journaling Going through my own journal allows me to reflect on myself all the way from point A to point B at a certain extend. And on the journeys and adventures within. – Listening to podcasts, positive affirmations. You’ll be attracted to the podcasts meant for you, but background research is always the way to go. – Taking long hot baths with beautiful soft fragrance filling the room. I’ve read from trusted sources that essential oils do the trick but I have never used any yet. I rely on the products I use for the beautiful, therapeutic fresh calm scent in my bathroom. – Watching the view. I am a fan of places that allow my eyes to reach the furthest of the places. These provoke imagination, and creativity.
What activities make you happy? What choices have been liberating?
My self-discovery includes awareness of my self outside of my wounds This alone affects me mentally, associated with loss of confidence due to the realization that the person “I am” actually functions from wounds.
With this feeling like I’m taking out what’s already built-in in me, a lot of unlearning, a lot of conscious learning of new habits and a conscious wiring of my mindset has to take place. It’s not an easy thing to do as I automatically get sweeped off by my old habits. I have to stand back and shout wrong way!
So much happens out of choice, the reliving of old cycles or not. In my face is an infinite bag of choices. I’m not scared of the unknown and not planning on returning to the familiar
Some side effects of this phase include – The loss of the trust I had for myself (which I’m now regaining). – Abrasiveness and discomfort with overrall socializing. – I’ve gained a tremondous self-interest which stems from confusion that comes with the “what nows and what ifs.” – Withdrawal and detachment
The pro is that I have realised that a lot of my perceptions of things around me came from the wounds within, and the world is not such a horrible place. I suffer not from my past or angry view of life anymore. But, built in habits from that mindset I walked with for such long. It is one thing distructing your own reality, having to “create” it is another.
I was confidently an advocate of a lot of things. I’ve lived and breathed them, I felt stripped of my identity. I suppose this comes with healing. Healing comes with all it comes with.
I try to remind myself daily that I should live out all my life, including the parts that may be confusing. And that all these are just phases and my presence in any phase of my life shall be unquestionable.
When my depression was depreciating, I became overly protective of myself that I felt the need to deny people access to me. It felt right as I had the belief that these people may not be aware that some of their behavior harms others. They are unapologetic to their actions, and the victim is left with the job to face, and to deal with the consequences.
There existed fear of going through the same damage and process of healing that felt impossible most of the time. Healing from childhood traumas and with little self-awareness does feel close to impossible as I may be walking around with pain that feels untraceable. I engaged with people at an arm’s distance. As an observer because “my energy field was too sacred to allow people to just fuck it up.”
When I thought I was protecting myself from future possible pain, or trauma, I had to absorb the faith that people never have good intentions. This led to anxiety and overthinking of relations. A lot of stages in my life I had trouble with making close friendships, but with little understanding of the reasons behind it. I still praised my being like this, especially when I’d see the people I am surrounded with come out disappointed or hurt from “situations they could have avoided to begin with”.
It was on the lonely nights with no one to call or text that I had to interrogate my own being, leading to my awareness of the root of my problem thus knowing what to address.
Self-healing too might have you closing one door to open another that may be just as damaging. When decisions are made from an imbalance, it is very less likely for the results to be balanced. Alone feels lonely, relationships are overwhelming, they might serve as a distraction, an escape, depending on one’s own needs.
The victim mindset is very common when you feel you’ve been victimized a time in your life. One grows accustomed to being subjected to oppression, deceit or to generally be adversely affected by people and overall situations.
As the mark was set in my mind that unpleasant things happened to me in the past, I became conditioned to expect these same unpleasantries in my everyday life. My own thoughts were reflected back to me. Was this exactly how things were or was it just how I perceived them to be? I needed conviction that life is just horrible and I received it. From my own self. Again, my own thoughts were reflected back to me.
This mindset too is a wound. It raises very highly one’s level of expectations. From the world and the people around them, leaving them extremely vulnerable to hurt, and pleasure. “Little things hurt, it doesn’t take much to please me”
When I leave out the childhood trauma and the people that abused their power on me; I realised at a later stage in my healing that it’s possible that on that journey I walked wounded, the things I believed to have hurt me may have contributed very little to my pain at that time. Wounds connect and these things/people were mostly triggers. Their failing to tiptoe around me as I expected led to memories I’ve supressed to resurface, connected in a way that pain felt like all I knew.
As more light was shred into my life the more I expanded in my understanding. Forgiveness became easy. Forgiving myself, the perpetrators and everyone else who just failed to meet my expectations of how I should be received and treated when I was still wounded.
Wikipedia defines Self-healing as the process of recovery, generally from psychological disturbances such as trauma and/or childhood trauma. This form of healing is motivated by and directed by the patient, guided often only by intuition.
Mental illnesses (which is not my favourite term to use) refers to the behavioural and mental patterns that may cause suffering or poor ability to function in life. In my quest to healing, I learnt to stop generalizing these disturbances as they collectively formed what I believed to be my identity.
Why then don’t I use this term if I can testify to having lived with few of these “mental illnesses”?
It is acknowledging that I have lived a certain stage of my life characterized by what is generally defined as mental illnesses. I had to understand that living like this was a result of certain life experiences I have supressed and have not made peace with. That it’s anger, hopelessness and coping mechanisms one learns and can unlearn through time.
It takes courage and strength to travel down the rabbit hole to face one’s own wounds. The thought of having to relive these very same experiences, to constantly live with the hurt as if the earth I walk on is pain I dip my feet in with each step I try to take. I had an urge to run, I needed an escape. An unknown speaker once said running is purposeless when you are taking yourself with you. It was of no use acting tough too as I continuously projected these wounds at any chance I got.
You are not necessarily ill if you are aware of what causes you dis-ease. Self-healing comes into play when you confront these experiences and each wound it left. To monitor the mental attacks , I suppose prescribed medication is a start. Relying heavily on them is a sign that one is not willing to do the necessary work to get better and to outgrow these patterns as I believe what they do is manipulate the nervous system.
There was a time when I realised that I followed a lot of people who’ve succumbed to their own mental illnesses on social media, having found a home in one another. When one speaks, the other agrees and these became the things we fed each other daily. Relativity felt like a blessing, but was that how the story ends?
Following people that promote holistic health and positivity played part in my self-healing journey.
I believe that the therapist and the hypnotist are here only as guides into the wounds, the real healer is the patient. It is them that lived and continue to live with the experiences; it is them that understand the intensity of their own pain. When you have the will and wish to heal, intuition is the light. The darkness within too speaks with us. There lies power in choice; to remain and to decide, which path to take.
A day is not complete if the sun does not set, but it sets to rise with the morning. From darkness comes chaos and from darkness comes light.
On this Self-healing journey, it’s worth remembering that healing isn’t all there is to life. Remember to nurture the seeds that need planting, to create. We can BE, without hindrance from damaging life experiences that seem to remain with us. We are not finished products of trauma, we stand a chance to make our lives beautiful.