“I used to think that was me taking care of myself!” my client said a bit shocked. She was referring to times when she felt tired and would hear this “friendly” voice in her head saying, “You don’t have to do that now. You can do that later.” It would sound logical at the time and she would listen to it.
She was realizing that “this voice” (her own limiting thoughts) was actually sabotaging her. You see this would happen when she was working on something she really wanted accomplish. She would then stop short of what she had set out to complete so that she could rest. But her rest was never restorative. The fatigue stayed with her.
As she became more aware of this pattern, she started to not listen to the voice and instead finished the piece of work she had set out to do. She noticed when she finished her work, she had more energy. That’s when she realized she’d been sabotaging herself under the guise of “taking care of herself.”
Is it loving to ourselves to take a break? To rest? To slow down? To take some time off? On the surface, it’s easy to say, “of course!” Maybe it is. But maybe it isn’t.
When I am clear about my purpose and what I want to create in my life, fulfilling on that purpose, is an example of loving myself. Because I am giving myself what I truly want and what makes my heart sing. Now if, on that journey, I have some tasks to face – things I don’t like doing – and if I don’t do them (or don’t get someone else to do them), then I’m not taking care of myself.
So sometimes doing things that “I don’t wanna” can be an expression of loving myself.
Then how do we know when taking a break IS taking care of yourself and when it is not?
This is a really good question and one that I ask myself in those moments. What I then do, is check in with what “feels right” inside my heart and I don’t listen to what my head is logiking.
If I am dealing with the same circumstance—I have a task to complete but I’m tired and it’s often something I don’t like doing—here is my process:
- 1. I imagine myself not finishing the task and taking a nap
- 2. I notice how that feels
- 3. Then I imagine myself completing the task
- 4. I notice how that feels
If I notice that I feel better when imagining completing the task, then I know that’s the action to do. If needed I will sometimes create an incentive for myself so that I look forward to completing the task.
There are other times, when it feels right to take a nap and then continue my work and I do that. There isn’t one answer that’s the “right” one. But it is valuable to consider, “is this action expressing love for myself (fulfilling what’s important to me), or is it putting things off and actually sabotaging what I truly want?”
I wonder what your thoughts are here?
Lots of love,