Written by Caroline Stewart
Do you prioritize yourself? I mean really put yourself first?
Chances are, if you're like most of us the real answer is probably not.
We tend to think of self care as a hobby. Something we dabble in when the mood strikes us or when we have some space in our life that we didn't expect.
Why do we put everything else first? This isn't a rhetorical question. I really want to know. Why do you do it? Why do I??
Well, when I'm being completely honest about my reasons, it seems that the answer is obligation. I've chosen to be responsible to my job, my friends, family, community etc before being responsible to myself.
This is totally ass backwards. It makes no sense to spread all that energy outwards before taking care of myself. Unless...I want something from all this output. A payoff of some sort.
And here's where we really come up against it. If we felt inherently complete, we wouldn't be seeking outside ourselves for sources of approval, worthiness, security, love, joy, freedom.
The most common arguments we have with ourselves (and that others also frequently/not so kindly share with us) are that focus on self is selfish and that we need to put our obligations first in order to be stable and secure.
Really? Is this the best we can come up with?
Of course we should be self-centred. This is actually the most responsible and respectful approach.
Staying right here in my business means that I don't expect you to do for me. And I certainly don't presume to known what you want or need.
Imagine if we all took total responsibility for ourselves. What a different, self-centred, totally responsible, and liberating world this would be.
And I hear ya on the putting first things first argument when it comes to security. Really, the obligations we're talking about putting first are financial.
Let's see how this plays out...
Ok, so we put our work first. At the expense of our health, our sanity, our freedom, and very often our relationships. For what? Why do we go to work? Well, to pay for our health, our sanity, our freedom, and yes often quality of our relationships.
Hmmmm. Seems to be a bit of a negative feedback loop going on here.
Now, what if we tried it the other way? What if we put our selves first? What if we focused on what creates the most fulfilment, love and joy for us? Then fit work in around this.
Well, we go into work without any lofty financial needs or expectations. Because, we're ALREADY fulfilled. And often, when we come at it from this angle we tend to choose work that excites us, and is more in alignment with all of those core values we hold.
Funny thing is that this values-focused approach tends to lead to more success at work. More engagement, pride, and ultimately security. Who doesn't love doing business and working with someone who loves what they do?
So, what are we going to do about all this? How are we going to just up and start loving ourselves first?
Well, we need to rewire the system. For so long, we've been creating the habit of obligation. And now we need to create the new habit of self-love and focus.
It's not an easy transition to make. We have some pretty deeply rooted limiting beliefs hiding in there.
So, we get comfortable with the discomfort. We choose love instead of fear. Again. And again. And again.
When a choice is presented, we look to the answers and ask what is loving and what is fear-based. Then we choose what is loving. Yes, it's that simple.
Loving choices uphold our core values. They add more onto you. Fear based choices attempt to prevent the LOSS of what you value.
Loving = adding
Fear = prevention of loss
Can you feel that fear in the pit of your stomach? The potential loss of what you hold dear?
The problem with choosing fear is that it often leads to the loss we are so desperately trying to avoid. Choosing fear means creating limits for ourselves and others. Fear is forgetting why we wanted something in the first place and holding on so tightly that we forget to appreciate it.
Choosing love is all about acceptance, appreciation, and integrity. It's rooted in the upholding of our core values and offers understanding and gratitude to both ourselves and others.
The truth is that only love exists. Even fear points to the lie of our misunderstanding and ultimately to the truth of love.
As an example of this, when we uncover the root of our fear of failure to be lack of worthiness, we see the truth within - that we are inherently worthy and whole. When money fears rear their ugly head we see scarcity thinking at work and again reveal the real truth - that we are abundant beyond our understanding.
And so, if we want to be free, we choose love.
In order to rewire, we need to keep this conscious choice going. At every corner, we'll have the opportunity to choose between love and fear.
The more we choose ourselves, the easier it will get. And the more we choose love, the more loving we become.
What do we have to lose? Nothing more than our fears.
And what do we have to gain? Our freedom, integrity, joy. Everything we value.
I don't know about you, but I'm totally choosing love.