Unusual self care practices

What can be so unusual about self care? The answer totally stands out from the traditional idea of self care which involves spa treatments, meditation classes, yoga, gym memberships or “protecting your energy” by staying away from negativity. In today’s post, I explore a four-fold approach to everyday life that might freshen your perspective on what it means to care for yourself on a deeper level and value yourself in a way that prepares you to face the battles of life.

  1. Getting to know yourself

Staying open to re-discovering who you are and what is important to you, in my books, is the highest expression of self care. Sometimes we tend to blindly accept certain behavioural patterns or mindset habits that we might have subconsciously picked up over the years, some of which might be unwanted or even toxic. Having a genuine sense of life-long curiosity towards why we operate the way we do without criticising ourselves is not just a path to become our own best friend but also a way to show ourselves that we care enough about ourselves to invest time for it.

2. Showing who you are

Showing who you are includes not just being vulnerable but also about confronting your overly judgemental and cruel aspects of your personality. Nothing screams self care as much as showing up as your authentic, awesome self. Regular self-inquiry aimed at improving your alignment to your core values and your authentic essence might seem like a lot of work. However, it is in the process of humbly showing up as your ENTIRE, gracious self that you experience the utmost freedom of self love and inner expression.

3. Going with the flow

Non-resistance to the flow of life significantly reduces that proportion of human suffering which is self-inflicted. Going with the flow doesn’t mean giving up or not having any goals in life. Being flexible with our plans, NOT unconsciously expecting people to fill previously-abandoned roles in our life, giving other people space to be themselves and staying open to miracles are excellent examples of self care and preservation. The concept of viewing life as an open-ended question and embracing uncertainty allows you to believe in your divine power of creation, sustenance, safety and resilience.

4. Empathising with others

When I started viewing Empathy as a self care ritual, my life instantly became reprogrammed to attract love, peace and conscious connections. Although empathising with others might hardly seem related to our own wellbeing, this practice cultivates the habit of valuing one’s own inner peace over mundane dramas. It helps to know that every single person in this world has their own unique journey filled with joy, pleasure, suffering and other types of karmic repercussions. Only someone who genuinely values and cares for themselves with full understanding of their own power to love, forgive and connect can actually empathise with others. This practice has the power to transmute our feelings of greed, jealousy, shame and hurt that we constantly experience into love, joy, belongingness, gratitude and service.

Living fearlessly with a wounded heart

Imagining a world full of compassionate beings might seem idealistic to many of us, especially those who have been exposed to public hatred, humiliation and injustice. Change makers, motivational speakers, healers and other visionaries might agree with me when I say that although the idea of awakening to our true nature seem straightforward, there is a lot of work to be done. In many parts of the world, things are getting back to the new post-pandemic normal. Some of us are struggling to re-learn how to function in the world as a social being after having gone through a period of isolation. Some of us have reinvented our careers while others have reframed our idea of happiness. A majority of us consider the past 1.5 years as a period of struggle and profound growth. The relationship between struggle and growth is very interesting to me. The traditional idea of growth involves struggle and rightfully so, because you cannot make bread without kneading the dough. If we were to look at growth closely, we might realise that it is actually a change of state. Just like the myriad of triggers that shaped us into the “thick-skinned” adults, I perceive the recent struggles of humanity as a catalyst for change and consequently, an initiation of growth. I feel many of us have been walking with eyes so wide open for distractions and hearts so closed up for compassion that the wrong things in the world had to become worse for us to take notice of those things.

Acknowledging growth is not merely the responsibility of the change makers and the dreamers. The type of growth that I am talking about is relevant to every simple, average human being. Conventionally, the concept of adulting has been about developing a “thicker skin”, holding ourselves accountable and adapting to the world. While we as a society have come up with a seemingly fool-proof system of adulting gracefully, it is not news when I say that adulting sucks. It is not uncommon to think that being an adult is to be in misery, to be often broke and/or have an identity crisis, race for power, chase after true love, survive heartbreak, evade trauma, starve and jump through hoops until you embody the overrated and possibly borrowed definition of success. I can’t help but notice that there is one thing that can make adulting bearable and that is compassion. Compassion from strangers, parents, friends and well-wishers and most importantly, from ourselves can undeniably cushion the impact of the punches life throws at us. Growing from being an adult who is a proponent of gulping the hard pills down the throat to an adult who not only favours compassion but also celebrates it as one’s true nature, could be the humble beginning of our path towards world peace.

Contrary to popular opinion, compassion is not brought out by broadening our minds or stretching our limits in order to contribute to society. Compassion is neither a monumental task nor an aspiration reserved for the wealthy members of the society. Compassion is the most natural quality we human beings can express with the least amount of effort possible. If you need proof that compassion is innate to us human beings, look at a newly born child. Even the most evil person on Earth would have been a baby, with a soul that is so authentically expressed and a heart so open that it is shaken upon hurting even a small plant. What happens when the innocent little baby grows up? The baby is exposed to layers and layers of conditioning to make it fit for the world, which also includes the process of adulting. Kids think, speak and act from their hearts. Energetically speaking, our hearts are the energetic centre of love and compassion. It is not only the source of romantic love-based emotions but also that of an overall sense of wholeness and well-being that another human being can never give us. It is our soul-base. It is the portal to the ever-expanding internal Universe. It is home to the feelings that make us euphoric, drowning us in the bliss of feeling connected to other life forms and Mother Earth.

What makes the quality of compassion seem so surreal and unattainable is not only because of our own survival instincts but also that of our parents, relatives, neighbours and well-wishers. There is considerable shame associated with being an empathetic human being, especially the shame we are made to feel by those who have been hurt so bad in the past that they had to dissociate from the cruel world by developing unhealthy coping mechanisms. What many tend to overlook is the fact that the construct of life is not meant to make humans cold-hearted. Life is meant to expose us to a variety of circumstances, people and stimuli, all of which can be labelled as merely different forms of information. Information helps us learn about and understand the world and our life. Learning lessons in life is similar to scientific research, you observe and experience everything, collect data and interpret, even make your own experiments, vary some parameters, test the validity of the results and save it for your follow-up experiments. Throughout the entire process of your research, the objects vary but the subject of interpretation is you. They are your results and your interpretations are unique to you and your conditions. A good researcher is aware of the need to be objective while a bad researcher tend to take the results so personally and blame themselves. A good doctor sutures a cut in the skin while a bad doctor accepts that cuts are dangerous, the world is dangerous and hence, never reveals the skin to open air ever.

So, are we all bad researchers and bad doctors then? Do we really need to harden our hearts because the world has been mean to us or instead we seek help to heal our wounds and march forward with our hearts open? Do we live in fear or do we brave the cold and live fearlessly? Do we go back to courageously emanating love from our hearts like we used to when we were children or do we choose to secretly curl under the bed and call ourselves wounded? Whatever you decide, remember that your heart still beats just for you, waiting for you to tune in to the frequency of love.

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