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Selfcare Is Not Punishing Yourself

I’m still in my robe and that’s okay because that’s probably how I’m going to stay most of the day because I deserve it and it makes me feel a little bit fabulous so we’re just going to keep it that way for most of the day today until I take a nice long shower. 

But that’s not what I want to talk about today for selfcare. Usually, when I talk about selfcare, I try to remain using positive words, telling you the things I want you to do, however, today, I’m going to deviate from that and tell you the thing I don’t want you to do because this week I saw an Instagram post and it really hit home because I realized I do this – did this – a lot. It’s still a work in progress. And that is don’t punish yourself. Don’t punish yourself.

We often punish ourselves silently, kind of, for the things that we feel that we have not accomplished. What am I talking about? So I know I’ve done this. Maybe you have too. Buying an outfit that is two sizes, a size too small for you for that particular event because you’re not the size you think you should be to be seen out in public or to be your most fabulous self. 

And so you buy that outfit that is too small for you, swearing that you’re going to lose the 5 or 10lbs and you torture yourself and do some stupid unhealthy diet so you can fit into that outfit. However, 9 times out of 10 if you’re anything like me, you do not make the weight loss that you say you’re going to make to fit into that outfit, and actually, you end up squeezing into a pair of Spanx and into that outfit and you go to that event extremely uncomfortable feeling like a stuffed sausage and judging yourself the entire time. 

That’s one of those instances where you are punishing yourself because you’re not the size you’re supposed to be. Or maybe you’re the exact opposite. Maybe you haven’t bought yourself a thing to wear and so you’re wearing that somewhere in-between size because you haven’t fully lost the weight that you want to lose but the clothes that you’re wearing don’t fit you properly but you refuse to buy anything because you’re not the size that you want to be. So you always feel like crap because you’re not where you should be and so you don’t really deserve to feel fabulous. 

It’s not okay. We cannot do stuff like that to ourselves. Or you’ve had a crappy week, you haven’t reached any of your goals, you’re supposed to go out with your girlfriends and you cancel it because you don’t deserve to go out because you haven’t really done the things that you needed to do so instead, you’re going to stay at home and beat yourself up for all the things that you didn’t do. And you probably don’t get anything done because you just feel like crap. 

When we do things like these, we’re not actually helping ourselves do the things we need to do to get better at the goals that we’re not accomplishing. All we’re doing is perpetuating those feelings of isolation, those feelings of not being good enough. You just are pulling yourself down, down, down, deeper down into that hole because you’re perpetuating the feelings, you’re compounding it by never having an outfit that actually fits you so you never actually feel fabulous. 

Why? And you continuously beat yourself up for not being looking the way you think you should be looking. So you never feel great and you never treat yourself to anything because you feel like you don’t deserve it. 

Meanwhile, everybody else in the house is walking around looking fabulous and you are still wearing underwear from when you were pregnant five years ago. Did I just call somebody out besides myself? 

We have to stop punishing ourselves and start being more graceful with ourselves, more forgiving of ourselves and celebrate – hello! – please celebrate the things that you do accomplish. If you are anything like me, we often brush off the things that we did get done and we harp on the things that we did not accomplish. And all that does is perpetuate the feelings of inadequacy and I want us to stop doing that. Stop it. You are not helping yourself, you are not making yourself feel better by depriving yourself of the things that you should be feeling. You have every right at any size to feel fabulous. 

And you can. You have every right to take time out for yourself and I guarantee when you do, you’ll come back and be much more capable of accomplishing all the things that you didn’t get done. Cleaning up that house, spending some one-on-one time with your spouse or partner or with your children. Having the time to accomplish that goal that you set for yourself but you’re too tired to do anything towards it. Allowing yourself to sleep in one of those days of the week because you have gotten up since the butt crack of dawn every day of the week so that you can do all the things for everybody but yourself. 

And yet still, we are not satisfied with the things that we are accomplishing and we constantly put little roadblocks in our way to punish ourselves for all the things we are not doing.

How about you celebrate the things that you are doing. Take the punishment out of the equation. Would you do that to your children? Would you buy your child an outfit that’s too small and tell them they’re not going to go to an event unless they fit into this outfit? 

No. No. 

Now mind you, I am all for always trying to do something to make ourselves better, thinking of ways that we can parent better, that we can manage our lives better, that we can be healthier. Of course. Strive for the best, but don’t set unrealistic goals and then silently punish yourself for not being the person that you think you should be.

Within our limits, we can only do so much and we have to celebrate ourselves as much or more than we punish ourselves. So what I want you to do – because this always gives me new perspective – sit down and write down all the things that you have done, okay? All the steps that you have taken in the right direction. 

Maybe you do want to lose weight. How many times did you work out this week? If you didn’t, fine. Did you eat some healthy meals? Did you go about drinking water instead of soda? What are the things you did do? 

So your house is a mess. Okay. What did you accomplish this week? Were you able to organize your desk? Were you able to throw something out that you’ve been looking at for a long time? Did you get the dishes once this week? What are the things that you did accomplish? Make the list of that and reward yourself for that. Don’t think about the things you didn’t do and do not punish yourself for those things. Look at the things you did get right and allow yourself a celebration for those. 

This punishing business is not helping us. It just perpetuates the feeling of loneliness, isolation, being less than, you just doubling down, you’re digging the hole a little bit deeper so you could just crawl in and hide. 

I know. I know. I’ve been there. Stop! Make the list of the things that you did do, that you did accomplish, that you do feel good about. I don’t care if it’s just one thing and give yourself a reward for those things even if it’s just one. 


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A post shared by Elisha Wilson Beach (@mylifeisabeach)

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