I’ve probably been living under a rock but I don’t think I heard much about Self-care prior to 2017. I definitely think 2017 was a big year for self-care, at least in my world. One of my first attempts at self-care was in my decision to stop worrying about the number on the scale. Practicing self-care is important and finding ways to care for oneself should be at the top of our priority. I have cared for myself but I don’t think I have made self-care a priority until recently. Particularly, I have come to learn that I could put in a little more effort in learning to be gracious to myself.
Related post: Letting The Scale Go: Mission Self Love
Self-care covers everything from mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health. All of these are critical to our ability to thrive as a people. In finding more ways to care for myself, one thing keeps nagging at me- I didn’t allow myself enough grace. I didn’t allow myself enough grace because I just didn’t know how to be gracious to myself. I think this is a problem that many of us have.
I am a perfectionist. This has its perks but I have sometimes acknowledged it to be a form of self-abuse, at least for me. I have worked my hardest and lived most of my life trying to be perfect. This has led me to most times being more mean to myself that I would allow anyone else to be to me. I find this to be interesting. How is it that I don’t extend much grace to myself but expect others to do the same for me? Why am I more gracious to others than I am to myself?
When I make mistakes, I often hear myself say (to myself) “ugh I’m so dumb”. “I’m so stupid” or even “ugh, what an idiot”. To many of us, this is about normal. Heck, it’s normal for me and on the surface, I don’t see any harm in it. However, as I’ve stopped to figure out a lot of thing in my life, I am learning that self-perception really does play a big part in my success. A big part of said self-perception is defined by how I treat and regard myself. I can’t constantly say to myself “you’re dumb”, “you’re not smart” yet expect myself to make big moves and succeed in life. Self- abuse affects not only our productivity but our self-esteem also.
So I ask myself, what Exactly is grace? For many Christians, this is a word we hear very often- one most of us even take for granted. I’ve tried to understand grace without going all theological on this post. In simple terms, Grace is a gift of love and simply “unmerited favor”. Being gracious to myself is practicing self-love even in moments when I think I don’t deserve it.
So I’m daring to be gracious to myself. And Here’s how:
- I will no longer call myself negative names; I may make a dumb decision, but I am not dumb.
- I will appreciate myself.
- I will be more self-aware and conscious – of my words and thoughts toward myself.
- I will learn to say “NO” more to protect myself from being stretched too thin. This usually results in my being disappointed in myself. In those moments, it’s hard to be gracious to myself.
- I will learn to accept compliments and trust them.
- I will practice mindful eating.
- I will let myself be human, and live in the truth that I don’t have control over everything.
- I will learn to apologize when I’m wrong even when it’s very difficult.
So there’s the list. These may seem basic but upon writing them down, I am realizing how much of a big deal most of these are. I know most of these wouldn’t be particularly easy, but with trying to extend grace to myself, the least I can do is to try. That’s really what my mission to change my life in one year is about- To try change.