By: Tiffany Morrow:
When you think of self-care you probably think of having some sort of routine. You may even be thinking of several activities throughout your day as part of that self-care routine. If you really think about it, are those few tasks making you feel fearless and confident about your life?
True self-care goes so much deeper than that. If you are not honoring yourself and your needs while you live your life, which essentially is what self-care is, it can mean you are not living your best life, or not being true to yourself. It can lead at to a life with the bad habit of putting your needs last and, more than likely, you’re ultimately not reaching your goals or doing the things that you want most in life.
I learned this the hard way throughout my own life. I had the habit of just going with the flow. I wasn’t listening to myself or what I wanted internally. I cared way too much about what other people thought and did what they expected of me. I was living my life the way everyone else thought that I should and, therefore, I was not living a life that was true to my ultimate dreams.
I had done everything right. I had gone to school, bought a house and got a good government job, but by living my life based on what others thought was best, I found myself unhappy, settling and in a job that I hated. I woke up one day realizing I wasn’t being true or even working toward what I really wanted out of life. My story is an example of how not taking care of yourself and not honoring your personal goals and needs can lead to a life that you don’t actually want to be living.
Not only is self-care so important in your day-to-day routine, but also in the actions you take to work toward how you ultimately live your best life.
How can you make sure that you are meeting your needs and living your best life?
It starts with awareness.
How do you know if you’re not taking care of yourself and your needs? Here are a few tips on how you may recognize where you are:
Putting your needs last
Just going with the flow and letting the rules of others dictate how you live your life.
For example, if you are following the path that everyone has told you that you should be following it probably looked something like this:
1. Go to school
2. Get a good paying job
3. Get married
4. Buy a house
5. Have 2 kids
6. Retire from that good paying job with a pension or retirement plan.
But have you ever thought about if that formula for life is what you really want or is it just what you’ve always been told that you wanted? If there was no “path of success” what would your life look like? What parents, teachers, and others managed to train into us was to trust in their wisdom and follow the steps that they believed was the best and safest path for life to attain the most security, and that is how I should be living my life resulted in not thinking about what my actual needs were or what I really wanted. I just followed the formula. That tendency to solely listen to the opinions and the guidance of others led to losing faith and trust in myself to make the best decisions for me.
I am not saying that you should never listen to others or that the path above is a bad path to follow. What I am saying is that your opinion and your needs should always be taken into heavy consideration against the options others are presenting.
Caring too much about what others think
A lot of times we live our lives in a way where we are overly cautious of how other people will respond to what we are doing. We wonder if it is really a good idea to go after that next big thing or off the beaten path in fear of what other people might criticize our actions and how they might perceive us. A fearless, satisfying life is hard to achieve if the potential, not even real, criticism of others stops you from proceeding forward.
Again, this is an example of putting yourself last and making the opinions of others more important than your own. By choosing to let the opinions of others take you off the path that you actually want, you are giving their opinions more power than your own. This fear will result with in you not working on the things that you ultimately want to do.
Letting fear run the show
I could talk about fear forever. It’s something that we all experience and it’s something that we all have when we were making some kind of big change in our lives. And for many of us, we let it stop us from doing the things that we want.
It’s a double-edged sword because fear is there to protect us, trying to prevent us from experiencing something possibly harmful. However, on the flipside the things that we want are usually on the other side of that same fear.
Good track coaches will often let first time hurdle runners trip and fall so they learn that falling won’t kill them and to get over the fear of it as the fear of falling is far more detrimental than the fall itself.
By letting fear dictate what you do, you may become blinded to the things that you want because all you can see is fear. This is the biggest thing that I often work on with my clients. Overcoming that fear and stepping into it so that you can do the things that you want to do.
Not knowing who you are
Lastly, and possibly the most important, is not even knowing what you want, who you are or want to be.
Sometimes you can just follow the path of success because you see that it works for others or you listen to the opinions of others because you are actually may be completely unaware of your needs. Some are happy with that life, and that can be completely okay, but you must be careful as you can easily lose track and fall into the habit of not taking care of yourself because you don’t really know what it is that you want when you don’t have your own personal vision for your life and you don’t know what your ultimate values or priorities are.
If this is you, then, this is the first step in order to go after the life you actually want and begin taking care of yourself. Getting to know yourself and what you want. It’s learning your values and letting them guide how you live your life. When you learn these things that’s when you can begin to take care of yourself, honoring your needs and your values. That’s when you are truly in tune with who you are and what you want.
I invite you to learn who you are, learn what your values are, and make a choice to not let fear or what anyone else thinks dictate how you live your life. I have a “Living Fearlessly” worksheet that I have attached to get you started on this journey.
I am here to help support you while you create a life based on true self-care to get to what you want out of life.
About the Author
Tiffany Morrow, MSW, LCSW
Owner and CEO of She’s Alive to Thrive
Tiffany Marrow, MSW, LCSW is a licensed counselor and certified coach helping women be brave and go after what they want. If you are ready to begin to take action towards living your fearless life, download the living fearlessly worksheet. bit.ly/3eh77PW