In the personal development realm, we hear all about “self-care” and “self-love” and putting yourself first. This is stressed simply because when our own cup is full, we can spill our excess love into the people we love. We become a better partner, a better parent, a better friend. Even though self-love is stressed, we have a vague understanding of what it truly means to show up for ourselves.
It’s More Than “Self-Care”
Life is busy. We are often torn in multiple directions and there are so many distractions. We have decision fatigue, and this can affect our ability to fully function. There are many choices at every given moment. This can feel ungrounding at times, so how do we “reel ourselves back in?” How can we show up for ourselves in the best way possible?
Yes-self care is always good! We hear all about eating healthy, getting massages, taking magnesium soaks, meditating, exercising, etc. But truly showing up for yourself runs much deeper. Showing up for ourselves is how we live our lives in each and every moment. Because most of us are doing all these things, yet we still are not fully present in our lives. We are still half-assing our humanness.
When we fully show up for ourselves, the world shows up for us in return.
Sometimes we feed our children healthy and then eat the scraps. Sometimes we offer love and support to friends, but then we don’t reach out when we truly need them. Sometimes we forgive someone who has hurt us, but we don’t forgive ourselves for the hurt we may have caused. No double standard–give yourself the same amount of love and forgiveness you give to your children, your friends, and your family.
Sometimes we just expect too much from ourselves, and we demand perfection. Then we feel disappointed in ourselves when we fail to meet our own unrealistic expectations. When we don’t meet our own expectations, we tend to place those unrealistic expectations on the people we love. Then we get mad at them as well. When we stop expecting too much from ourselves, we, in turn, stop expecting too much from others.
To truly show up for yourself without distraction requires a new kind of focus.
It requires engaging when we want to disengage. To be present not only for the people you love but also for yourself. To do the things you say you are going to do. To follow through with your plans, both for yourself and for others. To give yourself the love and respect you expect from others, in each moment. To stop reaching for mind-numbing distractions when you feel uncomfortable.
First and foremost: Stop placing unrealistic expectations on yourself.
You wake up in the morning mindful of how your day is going to go. And the only expectation you set is that you are going to show up fully for yourself, no matter how you may be feeling. That’s it. You are going to be kind to yourself, patient, and gentle. You may experience moments when you want to disengage. That is when you engage deeper. Ask yourself why you are pulling away, and re-engage.
Commit fully to your plans for the day.
Resistance keeps us from getting to where we want to be. Stop resisting. If your plans are work-related, don’t put it off. Sit and get done what needs to get done. If there is downtime, try not to reach for mind-numbing distractions. I do allow myself time for social media, but I also remind myself constantly that I don’t have to meet anyone else’s expectations. I also remind myself that this is where I am now placing my energy.
If your plan is to meet a friend for lunch, don’t bailout. Show up for that friend. When you do so, you are also showing up for yourself. With decision fatigue, it’s easy to cancel and make excuses. It’s harder to show up, but this is how we truly connect with ourselves and others. By doing the hard things that we don’t want to do. I often see fitness meme’s that talk about showing up and doing the hard work-this pertains to all areas of your life, not just fitness.
Commit to a daily practice that grounds you.
For me, walking my dog is my meditation, prayer, and mindfulness. When we walk together, I am present with her. My boys and I also commit to a family walk every evening, and we all love it. It’s part of how we wind down together. Where we are present, is where we place our energy. Who we are present with at each and every moment, is where we place our energy. Think of your energy as a bunch of tiny cords coming out of your hands and landing where you place them. Now think about where you are placing those cords throughout the day, and how many of those cords are scattered everywhere? Where are they all lying? Do you have 200 cords attached to your iPhone?
We are a culture that values multi-tasking.
However, multitasking doesn’t truly exist, so what we are actually valuing is escapism. We are valuing not showing up. We are valuing disconnection from ourselves and each other. We can’t do multiple things at once, try as we might. You can only accomplish one thing at a time, and when you shift from thing to thing to thing, you never fully engage in one thing, This means you aren’t fully showing up for yourself. When you decide the daily practices you will commit to, carve the time for it and make it the only thing, fully place your energy cords there. Fully commit at each and every moment and watch your life unfold beautifully.
Once I shifted into presence with myself and others, I felt a sense of calm and peace that I just did not have before. It takes a lot of work. It’s hard to show up for yourself in a culture that values social media engagement and real human disengagement. Do it anyway! Show up for yourself, in each and every moment and watch how your world unfolds.