The term “self-care” is accompanied by a mental image of a bubble bath with a glass of wine in one hand, a good book in the other and a face mask on… and candles, lots of candles. Those things are great, necessary even, but I want to shed light on the kind of self-care not seen on the gram. The late-night ugly cry, stepping out of your comfort zone, one deep breath at a time kind of self-care. Point blank, healing doesn’t have an aesthetic and it doesn’t happen overnight.
I’m personality test obsessed. (ENFJ, Enneagram type 4, you?) I discovered through one of these tests that independence is something I’m emotionally wired to crave. Ironically, in my pursuit of independence, I fell into a pattern of looking to fate or to others for guidance, as if I was waiting for my healing to just fall out of the sky in the form of some obvious sign.
While patience is inevitably part of any process (unfortunately,) there is a lot of action that takes place in the waiting in order for something to grow. Actively waiting, it’s a thing. I learned that the answers never just appear, especially not all at once… but by actively setting my intentions and my attention on wholeness, they slowly reveal themselves bit by bit, in unexpected ways, through unexpected people.
Now I know that the most valuable gift I’ve given myself is the permission to walk this path of healing & awareness. It not only allows me to become more of myself, it ultimately serves those around me because as I fill myself up, I slowly but surely increase my capacity to pour into others, maybe even inspiring them to carry on the cycle. I think this is how the “shine theory” works at its best.
In order to have something to give, I, myself, have to first be ready to receive and to partner with the divine the same way a seed does. I just have to say yes to growth. I have to be prepared to uncover and live with my wounds in order that they might become my strengths. As individuals, the highest thought is not to believe we’re superior, but to understand that we are all collectively in need of healing. We are wired to rely on each other and on a higher power, but when I sing the words “Help Myself” I’m singing about the kind of help that you and only you, can give yourself. Permission to heal, permission to grow, to evolve and to embrace the idea that you are here to be a part of something bigger than yourself. In a lot of ways, my self-care has been learning how to surrender to that.
It is NOT selfish to put ourselves first, it is NOT selfish to focus our energy, which is our most valuable currency, on sending our roots a little deeper so we can stand a little taller. The only other option is to remain stagnant… to wait. But if we have access to a state of flow, why would we settle for less? Sometimes that means re-formatting your life, your relationships, your space, whatever you once put your security in. For me it did and it was terrifying…
But, I disagree with those who say “fear and faith cannot coexist in the human heart.” Instead, I believe the coexistence of these polarities is exactly what makes us human, so prone to the paralysis of our fear and yet capable of believing that just beyond it, there is something worth risking everything for.
Illustration by Paru Ramesh
Article written by LIZ LOKRE: singer-songwriter and founder of the Rise Up Movement and #HelpMyself Campaign. What does self-care mean to you? Join the conversation use the hashtag #Helpmyself & tag @LIZ LOKRE. $1 per post will be donated to the Canadian Mental Health Association. Follow LIZ LOKRE on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.