All over my social media feed, people are taking stock of the year that just ended and looking forward toward their hopes and dreams for 2019. I’ve been doing a lot of that myself, although I started long before the holiday when at the beginning of August things came crashing down around me after several difficult months of family challenges followed by the end of a decade plus long friendship. Losing something which was such a significant part of my life, lead me to look at not only what caused the problem, but what I can learn, gain and create going forward.
With my sons being older and needing me and my time less, my husband said that maybe I should consider this an opportunity to start looking for ways to make myself a priority. I hadn’t realized how long it had been since I did that on any kind of consistent basis until he suggested it and I realized – I didn’t quite know where to start. The hard truth is, I’ve been only half-hearted about going for the things I do for myself. Have you ever experienced this? I’ve made progress on many fronts and on many goals but have I truly made them and me a priority?
Over the last several weeks I’ve found myself wondering… am I consistently making choices that make me happy? Am I choosing to spend my time in a way that supports my dreams?
The answer is not very often.
I need to start caring for myself at least as well as I care for my family. If you follow this blog or my social media posts (www.facebook.com/rachelkenley and @rona.writes.as.rachel on Instagram), you know that I’ve been thinking a lot about self-compassion and self-acceptance. When I thought about self-care I realized that compassion and acceptance were part of that overall process – much more important in many ways than manicures or long hot baths, things that tend to top the list of to-do’s when it comes to self-care for women. Deeper self-care needed to be about how I was “being” with myself, not doing.
And that’s how the acronym you see at the top came about. As I was doing my morning pages (any Artist Way followers out there?) I was suddenly struck by the fact that the word care could be seen as being made up of four very important pieces:
C – compassion
A – acceptance
R – respect
E – encouragement
I know that when I find a way to give myself those four things on a regular basis (which I’m definitely not doing yet), I will be truly giving myself the kind of self-care that can make a long term difference in what I’m doing and how I’m doing it.
So, that’s my big goal for January – to create a habit and a practice of self-c.a.r.e. which includes all of these aspects. In the coming weeks I’ll be blogging on each one of them individually along with writing about how my learning process is going. I don’t expect it to be smooth or even consistent. As lovely as self-care may be – it is currently out of my comfort zone which means my brain, always wanting me to be safe, is going to try to fight against this change. I’m hoping that awareness and a strong desire to have more of all of these things in my life will be enough to push through any resistance I feel.
I’d love for you to join me on this journey. Let me know how you practice taking care of yourself. How any of these four things show up or are lacking in your life. Where do you need more C.A.R.E.?