Lament, Celebrate, Negotiate to Take Care of Yourself

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Self-Care Tip #146 – Negotiate to get friendly with yourself.

How do you fit in socially when you’re taking care of yourself?  To be social you need another person.  How does that socialization become compatible with self-care?

These were the questions my brilliant sister-in-law, Trixie Hidalgo asked.  It isn’t so apparent really and I get what she’s asking.  Self-care is not all about the self.  There is clearly an exchange.  We are getting something from our environment that in turn is taking from us.  That environment can be anything, such as music, movies, books, work, or interpersonal relationships.  We negotiate with that.  We agree to what we get and what we give contextually.

How does one person in wanting to define self-care for themselves harmonize the exchange?  It’s a reduction of laments and celebrations.  For example, in going to medical school I lost time, opportunity to be a young mother, and joined without directly asking to, the competitive world that is culturally considered masculine – to name a few.  Yet the celebrations, although never equal to the losses, and vice versa, I agreed to.  I made the exchange between myself and my social context.

The self-care skill comes in the experience of your own self-discovery.  How does one do this?  Look inside yourself over and over again.  Lament.  Celebrate.  Negotiate.

For You:  I’m dying to hear your responses.  I have a feeling that they will complete the post, as so often they do.  Please tell me how you reconcile the effort towards self-care with the inherent social context.

5 thoughts on “Lament, Celebrate, Negotiate to Take Care of Yourself

  1. I was in psychiatric as well as pastoral care a minimum of five days a week. I couldn’t function at home alone. I had been an art teacher and loved teaching and children. Having to resign because of an emotional breakdown was almost worse than the breakdown itself.

    My daughter teaches music at a school for special needs children. Desperate to help me, she and her best friend, the art teacher at her school, talked with my husband who talked with my doctors and therapists. They asked me to paint a 38’x14′ Alice in Wonderland mural on the cafeteria wall.

    I couldn’t talk to anyone without stuttering. I was having major anxiety attacks. I was terrified to be in public. However, they all convinced me that I didn’t need to talk with anyone. All I needed to do was face a wall and paint. It would be good for me and especially good for the children.

    For several days, I got as far as the parking lot and turned around and cried my way home. I finally took my big black crayon and my sketches, faced the wall and began to cover the surface with characters and floral background. Then I started painting. I spoke to no one…but two years later, as I finished the mural, the children had become involved in deciding on colors for me to use each day, the aides were bringing the children to the wall
    to watch me work, the teachers were talking with me about what was going on next, I was wheeling children to classes, volunteering where I could and had actually become a member of the staff chorus which sings at graduation each year. Since then, the school has become the focus of most of the volunteering by husband and I do, and the staff all call us “Mom and Dad”.

    I didn’t know how to care for myself. I didn’t want to socialize at all. I’d pretty much lost all of my friends. The love of my family made me begin what became one of the highlights of my life and the spark that started the process of healing. I’m convinced that socialization is an essential part of self care. No question that it was for me!

  2. Seems there is little self care dynamic as it has become a matter of self survival at the expense of others rather than nourishment. Others are assayed in terms of being a possible asset from which to extract benefit or advantage. Seems there are few common denominators for mutual growth and collective benefit in today’s society both on personal level and global level. I regret my cynicism. Martin Buber calls it the “I-Thou” vs the “Us-We.”

  3. Pingback: Think About What You Have. The Season of Epiphany. « A Friend to Yourself

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