Self-care is SO important! Before we can show love to others, we need to be able to love ourselves and take care of ourselves. We need to know that we are important, we are worthy, and no matter what we look like, we are all beautiful. We need to value and respect ourselves, for when we do, others will too. We need to stop comparing ourselves to others, and beating ourselves up when we feel we don’t measure up. We are all unique individuals with different strengths and weaknesses. There is no-one else like you! There should be no room in our lives for negative self-talk. Below is some advice on how to take care of yourself. Life will have crazy up and down times, full of joy one moment and pain the next. It’s important that no matter what stage of life we are in, we learn to take care of ourselves FIRST!
BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Honestly, be kind to yourself. What we say about ourselves and what we think about ourselves is what we will become. Don’t leave any room for anything negative when it comes to you. It doesn’t matter if you mess up. We all make mistakes, and you have to allow yourself to fail. We are ALL going to fail at something, at some point. Learn how to forgive yourself, and then forgive others. We need to take care of our mental health, and guess what? Only we can control what we allow ourselves to think. We need to be kind, and realistic with our thoughts. Obviously we don’t need our ego to be bigger than the Grand Canyon, but we need to know that we are perfectly and wonderfully made, and our bodies and faces are perfect just the way we are. Is there room for improvement? Probably, when it comes to what we eat and what we wear, but we should never start comparing our bodies or our looks to anyone else. Allow yourself to be unique.
NEVER SPEAK NEGATIVELY ABOUT YOURSELF
I have learned to NEVER say anything negative about myself. I can self-reflect and see areas I need work in, and it’s good to see areas where we need some self-improvement, but what I’m talking about is calling myself names. I will NEVER call myself stupid, dumb, ugly, or a klutz. Even if I feel that way sometimes, I NEVER allow it to become words I say to myself spoken out loud, OR even just in my head. I wouldn’t want my enemy saying mean things to me, so why on earth would I do that to myself? That’s craziness! Nope, not going to do it. Train your brain to only say positive things about yourself, because what you say will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your brain is so smart, it will do what you say. If you always say you are a klutz, you are going to be klutzy. If you say you can’t remember, your brain won’t allow you to remember. Speak positive, helpful, encouraging words about yourself, and BECOME a wonderful, amazing talented person. You already are, you just have to believe it. You are beautiful. There is no such thing as an ugly person, only ugly personalities. Those ugly personalities are negative people, and they more than anyone else need to believe in themselves. Start with you – and influence everyone whom you see on a daily basis. Affirm yourself daily. If you want to read daily affirmations, have a look at my Facebook Page, “Affirmations for YOUR Success” – pictured below:
SAY EXACTLY WHAT YOU MEAN
It is important to say what you mean. What is the point of beating around the bush? People usually take us at our words, so we should get used to just speaking the truth. For example, if your hubby asks what you want for your birthday, and you say nothing (even though what you really want is a bottle of expensive perfume), then you cannot get mad or huff and puff because he didn’t buy you anything on your birthday. It doesn’t matter if your tone implied, “you had better get me something” – if you said nothing, then that is what you will get. Nothing. You have to learn to say what you mean. Be direct. There is nothing worse than saying the opposite of what you want, and then stewing in the consequences of it. Frustrating yourself is silly, so make the choice to say what you mean. If you want flowers, ask for flowers. If you want a gift, ask for a gift. If you want the last piece of cake, say yes please. Don’t say no, and then get mad because they eat it instead. Don’t make people try to read your mind, and guess what you are really trying to indicate with your tone. We have words for a reason – use them!
DON’T BE A PEOPLE PLEASER
You will drive yourself mad if you are always trying to please everyone else. You are the only person who gets to live your life. YOU! You are the one who will face the consequences of your actions, not anyone else. Your decisions alone will affect you, so make your decisions based on how YOU feel, not others. Trust me, people are so busy with their own lives that they are not worrying about you. Others are not sitting on their couch, having discussions about you and your life. Nope, they are not! So – stop worrying! Who CARES what someone else thinks! They are realistically only caring about themselves and their own needs, and possibly they are worrying what others think of them! It’s a vicious circle really. Doing things for others will eventually “kill you” over time. Maybe not kill you dead, but it will kill your relationships, kill your self-esteem, kill your friendships, kill your energy, kill your desires. It’s not worth it to waste our lives worrying about what others think, because honestly? They don’t even CARE.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO SAY NO
Saying no is really hard. We want to be helpful, and we want to be seen as a good friend. We want others to like us, and so we often do things that we honestly don’t have time to do. What happens when we can’t say no, is that we get burnt out. That is a terrible place to be, because all our relationships suffer due to burn out. When we are tired and exhausted, the last thing we want to do is spend time with young children, or even go on a date with our spouse. Most people who are burnt out want to stay home, hide, and retreat, or go on a vacation. We need to say no in order to save ourselves from self inflicted pain. Saying no is healthy. If you can’t say no – you will have to learn how to practice. Come up with some scenarios of what people ask of you, and practice saying no.
“Can you teach Sunday School this year?”
“Can you pick up weekly snacks for our book club meeting?”
“Can you watch my kid for an hour every Tuesday and Thursday?”
Put whatever people ask you and take advantage of you here. And practice your “no”.
“No, I’m sorry, I need to take a break and would like to enjoy Sundays without any added pressure.”
“No, I’m sorry, I won’t necessarily make it every week”
“No, I’m sorry, my schedule is fluid and always changing, so that won’t work for me”.
Whatever it is – you need to practice saying No. Say it in the mirror. Say it out loud. Role play with a partner, or a sister or friend. Practice until you learn to say NO!
DON’T BE AFRAID TO SAY YES
This is the opposite of saying no. If you always say no due to fear, you need to expand your horizons and say yes! It’s not scary, trust me! I finally said yes to something that someone asked of me, and I couldn’t believe how much I loved it. It made me break out of my comfort zone, but that was good for me, because I was in a rut. It also helped me become more responsible. It was really, REALLY nice to be able to say yes! But I have also learned not to say yes just to please someone else. I have to truly deep down want to do what is asked of me. And I’m not talking about helping out with chores around the home. That is ALWAYS a yes! If you are in a relationship, then chores are a partnership, and both of you need to say yes. I will leave that topic for another discussion though….but you get my point! When others ask, be okay with saying yes, even if it is making a dessert when you normally make a casserole. Break out of your rut, and say YES! You’ll be pleasantly surprised!
STAY AWAY FROM NEGATIVITY AND DRAMA
I don’t know about you, but I’m allergic to negativity and drama. I can’t stand it! Is there anything worse than listening to someone complain all the time? I knew one lady that always used to complain about how early she had to get up for work. Every single week that I saw her she would start complaining, and go on and on and on and on…..and I would just tune her out. After months of her complaining, I found myself strategically trying to avoid her, but that wasn’t always possible. I found it so draining. I didn’t have the courage to say anything to her though, and perhaps I should have. I wasn’t the only one she drove crazy. The point is – if you keep complaining about something, change it. But the best quote of all is: if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Negativity is awful. It adds weight to our day. It makes us heavy and lethargic. Those who are negative all the time need to learn how to flip the script, and look for something positive in their day, and focus on that instead. You can choose your thoughts. You don’t have to look for something wrong to complain about. You don’t have to complain about politics. You don’t have to complain about the weather. You can choose to be thankful for a job, a partner, children, nice clothes, pets, something! There is always something to be thankful for, you just have to find it, and focus on that instead.
IF IT FEELS WRONG, DON’T DO IT
Trust your gut, because it is always right. Even if it’s wrong, it’s right. We all have a conscious, and most of us are in tune with it. Deep down we know right from wrong. So, when you get that little niggle of “uh oh….this doesn’t feel right” – trust it. And whatever you do – DON’T DO IT! Don’t buy that car. Don’t pick up that stranger. Don’t buy something cheap from someone who looks like they stole it. Don’t keep that wallet you found. Don’t date that guy/gal who likes to flirt. There are lots of things our guts tell us, and we need to listen.
LET GO OF WHAT YOU CAN’T CONTROL
It’s so hard to let go. And it’s even harder to let go of things that are already out of our control. Last year when we received news that our son (my stepson) his wife, and their four children were moving 14 hours away, we were completely stunned, surprised, and completed gutted. Really? YIKES! New jobs will move loved ones away. It happens, and there’s nothing we can do about it. We can’t control their choice of where they want to live. But what we can control is how we react. We ended up writing an email, and in it we stated how happy and pleased we were for THEM. It was the truth. We of course were sad for us, but we were thrilled and happy that they had the opportunity to have a job they really wanted, making MORE money, AND having the opportunity to eventually have property. What could be finer? Well, not having them live so far away, of course! But guess what. In this day and age, there is skype, there is facetime, there is texting, and there is whatsapp. There are ways to stay in touch. Their lives are simply that – THEIRS! So, we will rejoice with them, and be glad for them, and focus on all the positive things, instead of staying in misery and sadness that our grandchildren are so far away. It may take more effort to see them – but so what! Life is about what you choose to focus on, and I choose only positive.
TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS
Your instincts, or guts are always right. I wrote about it already, that if it feels wrong, don’t do it. Your instincts about people are also usually correct. If someone around you is shifty – then stay away. If someone close to you gives you the creeps, stay away. Your instincts are usually spot on. I call it vibes. I know whether or not I’m going to like someone in the first 10 seconds of meeting them. I can tell a lot by body language, and if their eyes match their words. I can tell when someone lies. I can tell when someone is avoiding me. I can read people like a book. Not everyone is intuitive, but all of us have instincts, and we should learn to trust them.
NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS
All of us have had dreams about our future. Some we had when we were children, others had dreams in their teens. Others had dreams in their later years. Guess what! Don’t give up! It is never too late to start a dream. Some might be impossible due to age, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start a new dream. Growing up, I always wanted to be an author, and would sit for hours and come up with pen names. I finally wrote my first novel and published it when I was 45, using the name Vienna Lovett. I also met the Prime Minister of Canada personally and even took a selfie together, which was also a dream. I also became a piano teacher, which was also a dream. However, I also always wanted to be a figure skater, but I never even got close to that dream. My parents were poor, and I had two sisters. We all had piano lessons, and I also had violin lessons as well. So – my music took up my whole life, and there certainly wasn’t any more money for skating. I finally signed myself up for skating lessons when I was 28 years old. I LOVED IT! I took to the ice like a bird flying in the sky. My instructor told me I could really make something out of it, and I laughed. No, I don’t think so. There was no way that I could become as good or better than someone who had skated and trained their whole life. I had run out of time. Most skaters retire in their thirties, not start skating at almost 30! So, that dream never came to fruition, but I did satisfy my desire to learn how to skate, and do some really cool moves. You need to allow yourself new dreams when your old dreams fall apart. Remember, there are a lot of successful people out there, who didn’t achieve greatness until well after 50 years old. It is never too late to have a new dream. It’s only too late when you’re dying. Don’t live with regret. Find a new dream, and live it! Don’t let disappointment and resentment take over. Choose to be happy, because happiness is an inside job!