Usually at some point at every one of my events, I toss this question to the group, because I believe in its power of illumination: Who taught you how to take care of yourself?
I ask this question often because it helps us get to the heart of how we operate in this world today. If there were harmful or negative messages about self-care, chances are you haven’t done the difficult work of retraining your brain to shift to a more positive mode.
So we must start with who taught you to take care of yourself. This question is actually 10 questions in one, so I’ll break them down so you can get clear on your actual answer:
- Who raised you?
- Who did you spend the majority of your time with growing up?
- Who was influential in your formative years (teachers, siblings, family members)?
- Who looked “happy” to you?
- Who looked like they were just barely getting by?
- Did your parents/guardians have any self-care rituals that you can identify now?
- As a child, what did you do to soothe yourself when you were upset or frustrated?
- Was there any discussion of mental/emotional health growing up?
- What images from media (TV/movies/music, etc.) do you remember that shaped how you see self-care + focus?
- How have your ideas on self-care shifted over time?
This is the beginning of the journey. Peeling back the layers of why you believe what you believe about self-care.
Because so often when I coach women, we have to start here. They don’t believe in taking up space. They don’t believe in being vocal about their needs. They don’t believe in having needs.
So we have to examine those beliefs. They didn’t just appear one day. They were presented to you and at some point they began to make up your primary inner dialogue.
No matter what we’ve been taught, we can choose a new perspective.
Let’s get about the work of living out loud, of being fearless in the pursuit of what makes us light up. Let’s leave the doubt of our worthiness behind. We matter. Our presence is vital.
Our work as adult women is to discover those parts of us that need tending and get to work. But we got to start with good seeds.