I’m signed up for a lot of Inspirational Mailing Lists. My inbox is inundated with a symphony of earnest healers and coaches, all urging me to “Slow down to speed up! Take some time for reflection! Don’t be busy for the sake of it!”
If they only knew.
Sometimes I think the systems I’ve created in order to structure my life as a single mother, owner of two businesses, and aspiring author threaten to overtake the work that they purport to enable. I work out, meditate, fill out my Six Big Rocks, journal, network, research, interview, write self-indulgent blog posts, host my spiritual community, and lie on my foam roller. It’s a wonder I get anything done at all, in the cracks between striving not to be busy.
So I often feel that these missives I send to you, my beloved friends and colleagues, are redundant in the extreme. “Take some time for self-care,” I urge you, over and over. Yeah, duh.
But then it occurs to me that there’s still a voice in my head telling me that I’m going to wind up a bag lady because I got a massage on my friend’s birthday, and took another friend to a Korean spa, the very next weekend. That my business is going to fail because I went to the gym after bus stop drop-off and didn’t get to the office until 11AM. That I shouldn’t start taking care of myself until my debts are paid off and I’ve got a six-month cushion in my bank account.
And that, I think, is because all the unspoken cues I’ve received since birth have been along the lines of “work harder, not smarter,” because otherwise, there’s no telling what will become of me. That’s the culture of the good ol’ US of A. That’s how Tim Ferriss can sell you lazy as a lifestyle while living the opposite.
Lack of self-care, in other words, is the norm.
So here’s something I learned from an Inspirational Coach. When your brain tells you something like, “I shouldn’t go get a massage, because that’s lazy, self-indulgent, and I can’t afford it,” stop. Ask your brain, “Is it true? Am I absolutely sure that it’s true? What is this thought giving me? Who would I be without this thought?”
And then proceed accordingly.