Moving toward the end of the calendar year I admitted to something that I rarely admit to. Someone asked me in a casual way, ‘How are you?’ and I geared up for my usual, “I am wonderful, how are you?” On this day, something made me pause, something made me tell the truth. “I ‘m tired, I’m good, but I am tired.”
That moment of stark honesty stunned and liberated me simultaneously. I was tired and needed to find some solace and more importantly get some rest! While navigating my way towards my wonderful I began contemplating my current state of being. How did we get to this place? How do we avoid this in another six months? …. Was I allowed to be tired? I am really blessed, my life is wonderful. Was “tired’ allowed to a part of my personal narrative? I really did want some answers and I have spent the last few weeks contemplating this and want to offer some of what I’ve discovered.
Self-care for women is usually the last thing on the list of things to do. The reasons for this ranges from internalized oppression, to a lack of resources. However, what I have learned over the last two decades of my life is that self-care is an act of revolution, even an act of resistance. It is necessary to our personal wellbeing and also important to the forward movement of the work. We become a reflection of the work and the works becomes a reflection of us. Eventually we are not able to separate where one begins and the other ends.
Here are a few ideas that have been bringing me back to center
- Get Still.
- Ask for what you need.
- Go where you are loved.
- Redirect your energy toward joy.
- Be Power-full.
Get still. Stillness is almost a foreign state of being for us. When we are children and were told to sit still, it was usually a punishment, but decades later, stillness is a cherished state of being. When we become still we allow our head and heart to reacquaint with one another in a deeper way. Our lives are generally in a constant state of connection with all the beeps, swipes, and alerts we never really have a moment to simply be. Our inner self, our spirit thrives on peace, quiet, and stillness. When we deny ourselves that stillness we become depleted and ineffective. Allow yourself some stillness each day and the clarity that begins to evolve.
Ask for what you need. We find ourselves in a season of lack because we simply do not request from others what we need. When someone ask you what they can do for you to help you, tell them! Sometimes the conditioning of life has taught us to make do with whatever we have available. Sometimes the reality of what we have is not enough. So, ask for what you need without shame, without regret. If you need more time, ask for it, if you need more space, ask for it, if you need help with your children, ask for it. A date night with your partner? Ask for it. Allow yourself to realize the abundance around you.
Go where you loved. A few months ago I read these words in an interview with Lupita Nyongo. I found myself drawn to the idea and found myself using it as a filter for my interactions with people. The idea is extraordinary in its simplicity. Go where you are loved, nothing can really grow in a hostile environment As human beings we are hardwired to be appreciated, loved, “liked”. Seek people, work and environments that will appreciate your gifts and ultimately offer you some level of reciprocity. Allow yourself to recognize your worthiness and stand in that.
Redirect your energy toward joy. I love dancing, and each year I resolve to take a dance class and at the end of each year I find that another year has passed and I have not taken a class. (sigh) Joy is an acceptable and necessary state of being. Joy is not irresponsible or juvenile. Joy is purposeful. Joy is required. When we redirect our energy toward joy, our joy, we are more apt to experience success in all areas of lives. Allow yourself to invite joyful experiences into your life daily.
Be Power-full. Some of us have an “S” on our chest. You know who are. We are strong women. Strong is one thing that is neither good nor bad, it simply is. When something or someone is strong we usually characterize that as difficult to break, durable, intense, and the ability to withstand great force. In general I take great pride in my strength and the strength of the women who have come before me. Many of us believe to be taken seriously, we have to appear strong. Today I want to encourage you to transition that strength to power. When we are power-full we can create influence, manifest and transform our lives to a space of authenticity. When we are operating from an authentic place we can manage our own positions in the world not from a state of perfection but from a state of evolution.
I am resolving to live with intention in a state of evolution this year. I am casting perfection and strength aside and endeavoring to be present with and for myself first. “You have a solemn responsibility to take care of yourself because you never know when the world might need you.” Rabbi Hillel