Monday, 12 September 2016

2 Steps to Self Support

I distinctly remember the care-work session in which the concept of self support sunk in for me as an idea I could actually commit to. Having become an unintentional expert in beating myself up over the years, this moment was one that I was thoroughly excited to welcome.

Of course I'd heard the wonderful spiel of being 'my own best friend' and 'my own cheerleader' time and time again but as much as I thought I wanted to connect to them, they remained at arm's length for too long. As often happened, I embraced them entirely in their capacity as beautiful theories and enticing ideas yet allowed their actual practice escape me.

But then it finally made sense. And then I could finally see the critical importance of implementing this very lovely idea in a practical way in my life. And I've never looked back since.

The thing is, we spend so much of our time and energy working against ourselves that I don't think we even notice it. In some way or other we know that we want to enjoy our lives as much as we can, but instead of being there for ourselves and helping this become a reality, we berate, punish and disrespect ourselves.

We're harsh and overly expectant and sometimes just straight up cruel. We seek the approval of others incessantly, diminishing the value of our own opinions, we starve ourselves of the power we have within by ignoring who we truly are and what matters to us. We tell ourselves we can't, we're not good enough and we're nothing compared to others. We tear ourselves down again and again and then wonder why we feel so sh*tty.

And for some reason this becomes habit. We don't try new things for lack of self belief. don't let people see the real us for fear of judgement and don't achieve our goals because we don't feel good enough.


And that's not okay.

Self support is crucial to getting ourselves to where we want to be and we need to learn to embrace it, prioritise it and habitually live it.


1. LANGUAGE

Each of our thoughts are just words that we speak within. These words create our feelings which create our behaviours, which then shape our habits. Within our minds our words are constantly weaving opinions of ourselves and who we are. If we take a moment to become aware of them - do they sound supportive?

No doubt there's mean things we'd say to ourselves in our heads that we'd 100% cringe about if we had to say them out loud - So why is it okay in there? What we say about the person we are matters and just because we're putting ourselves down in the confines of our own minds doesn't mean we're not listening.

We need to use our words to shape our own self support. It's about time to introduce compassion and kindness into our tone and realise that if we wouldn't speak to a friend like this, then it's not acceptable language for ourselves either. Using our voices to support ourselves means building ourselves up, being gentle and kind, and softly encouraging our own progression. 

Those affirming comments, compliments and encouraging words we crave from others? Why don't we think we can give them to ourselves?! Your voice is an empowering tool if used in an optimal way, treat it as such.


2.  ACTIONS

Being a month of self care, it's a perfect time to focus on how we treat ourselves. When we don't support ourselves, we ultimately neglect our needs. We put ourselves under pressure and stress, attempting to run around on empty (and giving out to ourselves when we can't). Battered by high expectations, perfectionism and people pleasing, we wear ourselves thin, with little reserve left to go after what would actually nurture our authentic selves.

In order to treat ourselves in a supportive way we need to embrace the necessity of self care. Self care allows us to notice and nourish our needs. It reminds us to lower our extreme expectations into the bounds of reality. It nudges us to nurture our talents, passions and creativity instead of belittling their importance.  When we commit to taking care of ourselves we provide sufficient support to our bodies, minds and within, through consistent nurture, understanding and love. We recognise what is lacking and discover how to replenish it.

Treating ourselves well is how we give ourselves what we need to succeed. Be it conducting ourselves in a respectful manner, living by our values or even making sure to recognise our need for boundaries - it filter through our actions everyday. In each action we make we can work with or against ourselves, choosing to nurture or neglect, to support or suppress. Our actions pave the way for us to move into the direction of change . 


***

Self support to me is what helps us get through anything. It's the helping hand we need when we don't feel able. It's the pat on the back when we've done our best even if it's not perfect. It's a warmth of reassurance that tells us that 'It's okay,' and that we're okay.

Self support is the song of self belief; a respectful rhythm that reiterates with each complex chorus that we deserve better and are going to help ourselves get it. 

Essentially it's just being there for ourselves. Honestly, consistently and reliably being there for the raw and real people that we are, even when those people are down or messy or confused. Self support gives us the strength to pick ourselves up and keep on keeping on, regardless what life throws our way. 

And that is why it matters.



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