Why must self care come first for me?
Because the opposite to self care is self neglect. And trust me, I’ve lived in both worlds and know full well which one I prefer. This topic is near and dear to my heart because for decades I neglected myself to the point of emotional self harm. And trust me, it ain’t pretty, or easy to recover from.
Growing up being told to put yourself last, always consider others first, make sure that everyone else is happy even if it’s to your detriment was something most baby boomers were taught. In some respects I can see the value in selfless behaviour. But not if it means you pay a higher cost for it. It is NOT noble to be a martyr and I dare say if we could speak to martyrs today, they would agree. To thrive and not just survive in this world we must take good care of ourselves, or at the least, better care of ourselves.
I look at our three adult children and while I can see many good morals, ethics and values we have instilled in them, I see the flaws as well. They didn’t grow up seeing their parents well rested and relaxed. They have seen us both work ourselves into the ground. And for what? To have the security of a roof over our heads and a few creature comforts. But at what cost? We lost many opportunities to build happy memories as we tried to build a better life. A better life where we had a house to call home and some stuff to fill it with. Neither my husband or I were equipped to be emotionally stable parents. Shit, we were still kids ourselves trying to figure out how to live as grown ups while raising babies.
Now that we are grandparents we see it all so differently. If we could of have stopped, slowed down, had more fun, lightened up and loved ourselves more, stopped worrying about money and started living for the moment our lives would have been very different. But it is was it is. And all we can hope for is that our kids can teach their kids better ways.
Our lives are nothing but opportunities to live, learn and leave our mark on the world. And that’s why self care must come first for me. The more I take better care of me, the better I feel about myself. The better I feel about myself, the better I am able to love and serve. And the better I am able to love and serve the better my world is.
Don’t get me wrong though! I still suck at self care. I still have to force myself to give myself permission to rest even though I know I have a chronic illness. I still feel guilty for stopping and doing ‘nothing’. I still flinch when I get to breaking point of weariness and wonder how I let that happen all over again.
And then I stop and remind myself of how far I have come. It’s only 7 years since I faced death. Recovering from chronic neglect and living with chronic illness hasn’t been easy. But every day I strive to find something to be grateful for. Even on those days when I feel like I just want to give up, I give thanks for the many blessings in my life, and continue to give myself permission to get better at self care.
Feel free to steal this quote and make it your mantra. And if you would like to learn more about self care, go check out our upcoming Self Care Quest starting 19th September. We’ve also got a free webinar happening Sunday 4th September 8pm AEST. Hit me up if you’d like the link to join us!
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Self Care Quest
If you enjoyed this blog, you will want to find out more about our upcoming Self Care Quest.
We are taking applications now as there are limited spaces. Join us on a free webinar Sunday 4th September 8pm AEST to hear all about it and have a chance to sit in the hot seat!
I am so dumb! I’m never going to be promoted.
I am so ugly! No one will ever want to love me.
I am so silly! How could my boss take my ideas seriously?
I are so fat! I’m never going to look good in a bikini on the beach.
Why is everyone else so happy and I’m not?
Is this all life is about? Feeling fat and miserable?
Ever had these kind of silent war games going on in your head? Around and around and around they go like a stuck record. Day in day out, the constant whining of your negative self talk can become so ingrained it becomes your normal. I’m guessing you know exactly what I’m talking about otherwise why would you be reading this blog? I’m also guessing that you’re are very interested in knowing if it’s even possible to stop beating yourself up right?
Well it is, and I am going to tell you exactly how to do that. Before we get started, feel free to make yourself comfortable and put your phone on silent.Get ready to take notes while we change the record playing in your head.
When I first started out back in 2009 I used to teach my clients to consider their negative self talk as a radio station and to take notice of whether it was a station worth listening to. This way they could learn to listen to their negative self talk and make choices what to do about it. Choices such as is it worth listening to? And if not to take action. Action like fine tune it, turn the volume down, or turn the damn thing off. Well dear reader, over the years I’ve tweaked my approach to this.For very good reasons. I still believe negative self talk is worth listening to from a learning perspective and in fact believe the more we can pay attention to it the more we can learn from it. But turning it off without learning the message is a missed opportunity. So I ask you, when was the last time you listened to your negative self talk? Remember the key word here is listened.
When was the last time you questioned this negative self talk?
My old swami used to say “observe and don’t participate in the monkey mind”. Almost 23 years later I realise that there are layers to this lesson. You see listening to your negative self talk requires you to stop joining the conversation with it. And instead have an enquiring mind. Now back to the lessons in the layers. Imagine these layers are stepping stones to help you understand what’s causing you to beat yourself up. Think of this like an emotional fitness workout. Follow these 5 stepping stones to strengthen your muscle memory and stop beating yourself up:
Step Stone One: Give yourself permission to observe your negative self talk. Just do that and in and of itself you have put a protective interruption in place.
Step Stone Two: Observe the tone and timber of the voice of your negative self talk. Is the voice yours or someone else’s? If it’s someone else’s, have you given this person personal power over you?
Stepping Stone Three: Ask yourself: “Is this negative self talk serving, supporting, nurturing and respectfully challenging me?” and “What am I getting out of this?”
Stepping Stone Four: Give yourself permission to release and let this negative self talk go.
Stepping Stone Five: Take charge and take action! Because the trick is to come up with some new positive phrases to tell yourself. And to practice this as often as you can. Oh and be prepared to be surprised.
Your negative self talk has probably been trying to get your attention for some time. My intention is that you are now able to see it as an opportunity to learn and grow, to help you make better choices and to ultimately be kinder to yourself. It is impossible to fully receive love from another until you have truly loved, forgiven, accepted, trusted and respected yourself. Isn’t it time to stop worrying about what you think other people are thinking about you? Crazy thing is they probably aren’t thinking about you at all. In fact, they are more likely to be thinking about themselves – just like you.
If you’re new to this do what you can to strengthen your muscle memory with this new information. Practice loving yourself and being kind, caring, nurturing and supporting of YOU. For you to achieve long term change you need to work at this. See it as your new emotional fitness regime. And if it all sounds too daunting to do on your own and you want some help check out our Self Care Coaching packages and watch out for our Fast Track Self Care Quest. No matter what choice you make, please give yourself permission to get better at self care. Because that’s the secret sauce to stop beating yourself up.
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In 2000, Bronwyn Clee, together with others, pioneered the introduction or Restorative Justice practices into schools and community in the Northern Territory.
It is unique blend of experience … that has allowed Bronwyn to be good at communicating the importance of processes, which treat everyone with respect and dignity, and importantly, are capable of making a difference in the lives of those experiencing difficulties.
Bronwyn is a genuine and compassionate person who possesses considerable moral courage. She is prepared to challenge others in a respectful and constructive way.Terry O'Connell OAM
I completely understand why people think I’m strange, weird, or crazy. Don’t you worry, I’ve thought that about myself plenty of times. In fact I’m really comfortable in calling myself a weirdo now. Why you might ask? Well, I think, walk and talk faster than most people I know, and can be easily distracted. I’ve always had a busy mind that can take me off in a whole stack of directions and acknowledge this may send a message of disinterest while conversing. Which of course isn’t (more…)
Amy Cuddy TED talkI just watched this brilliant Amy Cuddy TED talk and it got me thinking and confidence and power imbalances. Yes our body language shapes who we are, but language and syntax matter a whole lot too. Fake it til you make it used to be a mantra of mine while I was building my confidence especially (more…)
My sister sent me the link to this article suggesting it might help locate some context to a 40 month nightmare I recently lived through. This research most certainly shaped up some clearer distinctions for me in regards to my own revolting, prolonged cyberstalking experience. Having been a target of varying levels of abuse both on and offline in my 5 decades, these distinctions have now helped me contextualise my experience from a removed perspective.
First and foremost, being clear about the troubled mind of either a Troll or Cyberstalker helps. Knowing how to appropriately deal with the situation is another thing altogether. Having addressed many perpetrators of either my own abuse or other people’s shitty experiences, I realise now that the way in which I initially tried to deal with my cyberstalker, who just happens to be biologically related and consciously excommunicated, didn’t help.
There were varying complexities in my experience due to the perpetrator being someone I once knew. Initially I made excuses and genuinely told myself things like “he doesn’t realise what he’s doing”, “he’s not coping with life therefore lashing out at me” or “he’s off his face on drugs again” etc. And I only told a few people – it certainly wasn’t the kind of conversation I wanted to share given my passion for helping people be the very best version of themselves possible. Ultimately, I became extremely anxious and for quite a while, internalised and personalised his attacks.
Until it got really nasty. His posting passive threats on my social media channels ‘to expose me’ for what I’ll never know, but left me in a constant state of hyper vigilance. Phoning our elderly parents claiming no comprehension of why I had excluded him from my life left me flumoxed. His befriending people I had made friends with on social media channels and proceeding to post to all and sundry that I had a mental health problem and had always been unstable was disconcerting.
And all of this from someone with a chronic drug habit, hasn’t been in paid employment for nearly 2 decades, has been incarcerated and suffers chronic paranoia.
Sadly he was at his worst when I was recovering from a chronic health crisis and very vulnerable. Blocking email accounts, deleting inappropriate posts, emailing colleagues apologising, creating new social media profiles only to discover he’d followed me there and having to block/delete all over again was exhausting. Arranging new private phone numbers, removing phone numbers from my website and all online business profiles, contacting close family and friends with each phone/email change and trying to stay sane, run a new business and live a lovely life all required time, effort and energy.
On reflection, earlyy access to this research which suggests “rather than primarily taking pleasure in their behaviour, stalkers (including cyberstalkers) are more likely to be highly distressed and angry with the victim. While they may get secondary pleasure from it, stalkers who intimidate or threaten usually have the very specific purpose of expressing their negative feelings and making the victim feel as bad as they do.” probably would have helped reduce a lot of fear and anxiety.
This second piece of research did however leave me reflecting on childhood memories of this stalker bullying me as a child – to which my parents and others recollect. I acknowledge he was trying to deal with harrowing experiences of his own abuse, however I can’t for the life of me fathom why he chose me as his target even as youngsters. I get it that as an adult his explosive internal anger at me speaking out about my own sexual abuse left him feeling frustrated and angry at not having addressed his own devastating experiences. I really do. And I understand why he wants me to feel as bad as he does about himself.
Bu I draw the line at being a willing recipient of his unresolved misdirected emotions and feeling like the bullseye on his own private dart board.
And yes, I chose a number of considered responses before proceeding and lost countless hours contemplating and self questioning ‘Will this help? Will this aggravate? Who else will this impact? What might come as a result of this response? And yes, I collected evidence and yes I contacted local and federal police. And yes I informed my loved ones when I had moments of fearing retribution. (At one point he threatened to fly from interstate and come to my home, and on notifiying local police about this I was told there was nothing I could do until he arrived.)
And yes I still live with the reality of knowing that at any given point in time he may return to his poisonous behaviour.
The good news is, I learned a whole lot from this, and have enormous gratitude for the gifts I can take out of what was once a torturous ordeal. You see while my original fears escalated and impacted on my personal and professional life, I had to dig deep to manage myself. Some of the best strategies that supported me through this nightmare was to:
- continue to learn how to love and look after myself,
- remind myself that I have no control over anyone else’s behaviour,
- practice Ho-Oponopono and EFT,
- seek professional help – talking to the NT and Federal Police about cyber stalking was fabulous,
- stop keeping it a secret and share my experience where appropriate,
- stop taking responsibility for other people’s bad behaviour,
- stop worrying about what other people think about me,
- speak directly on the phone with the perpetrator, in my parents presence, clearly stating enough is enough,
- close the chapter as a learning experience.
Being able to write about this now is cathartic. Abusive relationships, in this case cyberstalking, helped changed the way I think, feel and behave, let alone the way I write and connect online. I’m far more discerning now, and a little less naive. And I’ve learned how to stand strengthened in my vulnerabilities.
It’s helped me stand tall and proud of who I am and to honour my perfect imperfections. And it helped me stay 600% accountable for every word I speak or publish.
Finally, it helped me determine what matters most in life. Worrying what other people think about me or what might happen next is like allowing thieves to rob me of vital energy resources – and I can’t stand thieves. I’ve learned to give every person on this planet permission to think whatever they like about me because that’s their business. By focusing on what I think about me, well that’s my business. My creed in life is to do no further harm, and to thine ownself be true.
So in answer to my own question, no. The experience of being cyberstalked was not a good thing and I wouldn’t wish in on anyone. But have I learned and grown from it? Yes.
ps I just found a disparaging comment on my 2011 TEDxDarwin talk which I suspect has been left by my cyberstalker. Typical of his chosen language, and the creation of a fake profile, the comments are in stark contrast to others – and had very little impact on me!
Bron Clee 18th March 2014