A Powerful, Unwelcomed, Always-Present Force
Think about it.
What drives you to take care of yourself?
If you have goals and aspirations, people you care about and causes you support, then you have things that discomfort you about your current state of affairs.
To think about all the ways that one can feel discomfort would take an infinite amount of time. These discomforts can come in the form of getting a papercut or finding someone annoying, all the way up to and beyond the horror that is caused by death or fatal illnesses.
Although there are numerous ways to feel discomfort, there is only one place where discomfort resides: inside you.
There are no external bodies within which your discomfort resides. The cause of the discomfort may have an external locus of control. However, where it is felt is inside you. Discomfort might seem like a beast all of its own that has its own mind, will, and emotions, but it doesn’t.
Because these pains live within you, you have the power to confront them. You have the greatest intel into those discomforting feelings. With this intel, you have the power unlike anyone else on the face of the planet to acknowledge their existence and take action against them.
Reading this article may be rising painful feelings to the forefront of your mind. If this is happening and you have a desire to overcome them, you have therein found the profound reason why self-care is vital for you to feel content on any level.
What is “Self-Care?”
Nowadays, the idea of, “Self-Care,” is trending. People discuss the ways that it is positive and important, while others discuss how it is just another name for practicing the same things that lead to good health and well-being in general. They may even say it’s the newest way for self-help book authors to earn another dime.
Whatever you call it, though, the core of “Self-Care” screams one important message that still rings true:
To take care of yourself, you need to find your pain points and take however much time you need to analyze them, make a plan of action to reduce the pain they cause, implement those strategies, and repeat this process over and over until you find sincere acceptance and/or satisfaction and relief from your troubles.
As we all know, pain is a normal part of life. This can be depressing, despairing, and hopeless. From the standpoint of a living organism, however, pain tells all of us the same vital message throughout the entire duration of our lives:
“Here’s what’s going on. I don’t like it. HELP!”
Pain can tell you specific messages, such as, “Ow, my stomach really hurts! Why is this going on? Help me!”
Because you “hear” this message from your pain, you can know that you may need to see a doctor to find out what’s wrong. If you didn’t feel the pain, something very wrong could be going on in your body that could lead up to and including death! This is the same truth for an assortment of pains and discomforts you feel in life. That pain innately tells you that something is wrong. There is something happening that is causing you discomfort, and you have the ability to try to reduce it.
There are some types of pain that are caused by dreadful grief, however, which requires the same amount of effort, but it is not ever something that is “overcome” or “dealt away with.” When a loss occurs, discomfort is not something that can be overcome by simply, “Trying harder.” One thing that this discomfort tells you, though, is that you need love and support to help you deal with the wretched, tragic grief. Even still in this situation, pain screams that it needs attention and it needs attention now.
So, discomfort isn’t always dispelled, but what is important here is that you listen to your discomfort. Listen and don’t judge your discomfort. Offer an empathetic ear and welcoming shoulder, so to speak. Give yourself and your pains some grace. You feel discomfort whether you want to or not throughout life. The worst thing you can do in response is to subdue it like it’s not there, judge it and make you feel shameful, or just wish it away (Because it won’t).
I repeat, give yourself and your pains some grace.
These pain-filled messages that discomfort sends your brain’s way are, if you’re like me, not asked for, not welcomed, and not liked. So, what do you do in response?
Where Self-Care Comes into Play
A huge way that people overcome discomfort is by working together. Other times, however, discomfort is best overcome by caring for yourself by yourself. Only you can determine which is best for you. Because discomfort resides within your own body, it only makes perfect sense that caring for yourself, with intention and regularity, is a winning player in reducing or even eliminating discomfort.
With the idea of, “Self-Care,” in mind, you may have certain activities pop up in your mind about what that practice looks like. By way of example, you may have heard that in order to reduce anxiety, you may want to seek evaluation from a doctor who can tell you the gravity of what you face and potentially prescribe you medication. You may have also heard that practicing meditation, yoga, and spending time in nature can lift your mood and reduce your restlessness.
If you’re like me, you have definitely seen people have different reactions to the aforementioned activities. Some may roll their eyes because doing those things are so “cliche.” Others may like those activities and may already practice them.
What we can learn from this example is that regardless of whether or not something seems cliche, fun, helpful, annoying, etc., you must decide within yourself that you will not let your initial feelings about certain self-care activities keep you from doing them for illogical and invalid reasons. If you analyze your situation and you see that certain activities–such as exercise, volunteering, meditation, taking medicine, etc.–may help your situation, then you must have the courage and humility to go after that pain relief and potential happiness with everything you have.
…with everything you have.
Don’t allow the annoyance of others being cliche in your mind keep you from doing what you know could actually help you lead a better, more fun, happier, more fulfilled, and healthier life.
There are hundreds if not thousands of blogs and books all over the web that can give you ideas about how to practice self-care. I don’t have to tell you how to take care of yourself. You know what to do. I encourage you to not let pride get in the way of you reducing or eliminating your discomfort. In case you didn’t know, pride doesn’t reduce discomfort at all. It only amplifies it over time and leaves you feeling more and more alone.
If you want to embark on this journey, you absolutely have to make self-care an integral, foundational, and 100% essential part of your life. Let it saturate every piece of what you do day-in and day-out. Let it pull you forward with hope instead of pull you backward with discomfort.
You have everything wonderful to gain and everything horrible to lose.
“If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.”
Blog Author: Mary Barba
Board at Large, Lancaster Young Professionals
Principal, Barba Digital Solutions LLC
Mary Barba is the Principal at her firm Barba Digital Solutions LLC, which offers B2B digital marketing services. Mary earned her Bachelor of Science from Drexel University in Philadelphia in 2015. Now, as the newest member of the Master of Science online program in Digital Marketing at the Digital Marketing Institute located in Ireland, Mary strives to offer her clients and the Lancaster Young Professionals more powerful digital marketing strategies to meet their business objectives. As a Board Member at the Lancaster Young Professionals, Mary actively volunteers her time on the Marketing Committee (January 2018-Present) and Community Service Committee (March 2017-Present).