Monday, December 30, 2013

12 Steps to Self Care

This saccharine graphic, "12 Steps to Self Care", to living your life, has been making its way around Facebook. I'm sure it was meant well but it is so basic as to almost be useless. For these elements to be useful requires a degree of reading more into them than they offer here. As they are, they are simply too general. Which really is the point of these things, unless they become too general when they can become counterproductive.

These steps to "self care" imply that they aren't concerned about anything else; except you. However, in taking that tact, they can themselves become negative. Nothing is black and white in life and if you think they are, you are misleading yourself, doing yourself a disservice and setting yourself up for failure.

Ordering these elements up and seeing their limitations is as important as their original intent. On the surface they are useless. But they do hold a measure of help with a bit of help. So here is that bit of help.

1 If it feels wrong, don't do it.

 Okay, but working for a company every work day feels totally wrong to me. Should I quit? If I did, I would lose my house. I'd have no where to live. Be of no use to anyone else. Sometimes you have to do what feels wrong and yet it is the right thing to do. So how do you decide what you should do? Life, is all about balance.

2 Say "exactly" what you mean.

 This one, can get you killed. It refers to transparency. If I were to say exactly what I mean much of the time, it could affect my life and lifestyle poorly. However, if I try hard to be clear to others and communicate more rather than less clearly, with some degree of restraint in my honesty, with an attempt to be politic (gentle) in my dealings with others, but truly honest and heartfelt, there will be less ambiguity in my life and in dealings with others. Life, is all about balance.

3 Don't be a "people pleaser".

 Pleasing people is how one networks and sets oneself up for success in life. But to do it to excess, to get in a habit of constantly sacrificing oneself for pleasing others, will certainly be destructive. Please people whenever appropriate, when it falls in line with who you are and how you want to be, and how you want others to relate to you. Life, is about balance.

4 Trust your instincts.

 If you have good instincts in life and find you are not trusting them, and that things in your life are not going well, then trust them more. When your instincts become wrong on a continuous basis, then what? Review your internal and external existence and compare those to what you want out of life and how much you are using your instincts and adjust accordingly. Life, is about balance.

5 Never speak bad about yourself.

 Aside from questionable grammar, this can lead to delusional thought. Letting others know that you know where you are bad (or good) is useful, and can gain you a very valuable commodity, Trust. Be honest about yourself, be open. But work to make better what is bad about yourself. People seeing that you are aware and bettering yourself, progressing, give one another valuable commodity, Faith, in your abilities and your character. Self deprecating humor can be entertaining, it can relieve tense situations, it can be... endearing. But too much can be detrimental to you and how others perceive you. Stretching the truth to make oneself look good is one thing and useful, but breaking from reality becomes lying and negative and can come back around to cause you grief. Life, is about balance.

6 Never give up on your dreams.

 Better still, know when to give up on your dreams. Dreams don't just happen, they usually require hard work... and time. Time and effort are important elements in life to achieve anything. But you also have to take time to enjoy your efforts on the way to achieving your dreams. Otherwise you will burn out and never get to your goals. Life, is about balance.

7 Don't be afraid to say "No". 

 Better to be "concerned" about saying "No", while being able to say it when necessary. Still, don't always say "No" either. I have found that saying "Yes" more often than not, is useful in life, too. But as with anything, don't get addicted to it. Life, is about balance.

8 Don't be afraid to say "Yes".

 Like with saying "No", it is better to be "concerned" about saying "Yes", while being able to say it when necessary. Still, don't always say "Yes", either. Life, is about balance.

9 Be kind to yourself.

 This is probably the most important of all of these. Just be aware of whether your being kind to yourself is far out of proportion to what it is costing those around you. Is your being kind to yourself costing others at a degree far outweighing any justification you could openly make? Do you shun being nice to yourself? Life, is about balance.

10 Let go what you can't control.

 This is important as it goes along with "Never give up on your dreams". Sometimes, you should. But to give up on your dreams can also lead one to giving up too soon on them, as dreams are typically achieved after that point at which one wants to give up, even multiple times. Life, is about balance.

11 Stay away from drama & negativity.

 In general this is good advice, but if everyone always shunned drama and negativity, what would the world look like? Surviving drama and negativity also makes us stronger, smarter, it shows us ways to avoid them in the future. But being around too much drama and negativity is sooner or later destructive and sucks the energy out of one's life. Life, is about balance.


 Let the feeling of love into your life. But don't let it become all consuming or the drug you are always chasing. Also, don't try to keep it from you simply because it can lead to pain. Experiencing love in life is what gives life it's fullness, it is the reward for all the rest and avoiding it is removing one of the most rewarding features of life, from life. Life is, after all, about balance.

In the end, we really don't need to know all these things. One simply needs balance in life and when one finds that life has come out of balance, then alter whatever it is you have been doing. Be aware that at that point however, altering things usually requires altering them to the point that it is at least at first, uncomfortable. Usually to the point that at first it seems like the counter-intuitively wrong thing to do.

That is when the twelve elements mentioned above can be useful. But you will find at some point that what it all comes back down to is that Life is, after all, about balance.

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