Slap in the face

I had the pleasure of catching up with two friends this evening, both just went through something a little bit traumatic: one a rough breakup, the other a scary couple days in the hospital. Both are okay, and came out swingin’.

I admired my friend’s attitude about her recent hospital visit - having the sudden health scare gave her a major shift in perspective about what’s most important in life, and how she needs to reduce stress & anxiety and remember to take care of herself. She said how she isn’t bothered by the little things anymore, and is excited about finding ways to make her day-to-day easier on herself.

The friend who just went through the breakup had her own revelation - no more putting up with someone who wasn’t treating her well, time to focus on self-care and herself. I couldn’t help but think that in doing so, she will begin to attract the kind of partner she really deserves, and I shared with her this quote:

“Perhaps we should love ourselves so fiercely, that when others see us they know how it should be done.”

-Rudy Francisco

What felt so similar between these two stories was the wake-up call both women got, and how in both cases it came back to self-care. Our own self-care is the easiest thing to back-burner, and yet the thing that trickles into every aspect of our lives. Because when we forget it- it’s lurking around a corner, waiting to slap us across the face - to knock us back a few pegs. It sends us messages, over and over, but we ignore them. We think, “I’ll push through one more day/week/month/year,” or, “I’ll compromise my needs for this person, surely they’ll be there for me when I need them,” only to find ourselves depleted and left holding the bag.

Because at the end of the day, nobody else is responsible for our own self-care, it’s up to us to figure it out. It’s up to us to find the help that we need, to learn how to cook or exercise or meditate, to understand what keeps us fueled and then build a little fence around those things and keep them protected. In the book I reviewed last week, The Latte Factor by David Bach, one of his main financial principles is “pay yourself first,” and it kept making me think of taking care of yourself first, too. Like before work and the needs of others, what are you doing for yourself?

What is non-negotiable and just for you in your day or week?

It is up to us to love ourselves so fiercely, that others know how to do it - and not just showing them how we should be loved, but how they should love themselves, too. We are all a part of normalizing tired and downplaying stress. We stupidly boast about how little sleep we got or how long we went forgetting to eat. Why is that impressive? We are setting an example for everyone who sees us, whether you think they’re looking or not. They’re taking notes, they’re thinking everyone feels like shit, so I should too, they’re expecting that others will follow suit, and labeling them as “lazy” or “self-indulgent” when they come across something different.

Sadly, it takes a big slap in the face for most people to finally make the change they so badly want to make. Because it’s just so easy to keep on truckin’ and think “I’ll get to that next.” I remember living in Colorado and always thinking that someday I’d figure out my digestion and I’d get in better shape and I’d even learn to feed myself. Like, when I was a real grown up, right? Or when I was in a relationship again…? Or when I had more money… or time… or motivation…

I’ve got news for you: the motivation doesn’t come first. The action does.

Or - the slap in the face.