I’ve mentioned before that self-care isn’t all wine and roses. In fact, it’s hardly that. Instead, self-care can mean doing something difficult because what’s on the other side is good for you. It can mean communicating clearly about your needs. It can mean being vulnerable.
Vulnerability. I’ll admit right here, it’s my number one self-care battle. I have done a lot of personal work in the space of authenticity, self-compassion, and worthiness. At the core of that work, vulnerability. Opening myself up to potential criticism and judgement in the name of who I am. Loving and believing in myself so hard that opening myself up to others is worth it…because I’m worth it.
When I first started thinking about vulnerability, I thought of it as revealing pieces of me for others to see, even if it felt scary. Something I didn’t think about, and consequently struggled with (struggle with), was revealing my feelings about those closest to me to them. Specifically, those closest to me.
I grew up in a less than sentimental household. We simply didn’t communicate that way. To say “I love you,” “I appreciate you,” etc. was nearly unheard of. That was our normal, for better or worse. As I’ve traveled my self-care/discovery journey, I’ve been learning to break through that mentality, to process and validate my emotions and feelings. And, to…gulp…communicate them.
For example, my spouse. Let’s say that he starts washing the dishes on a night that is “mine” to do them. In the past, this would have stirred up some things in me, it would trigger me. I would feel guilty for not doing them, badly that he was doing them, like I was not good enough because I wasn’t holding up my end of the bargain. In my growth, I have learned to acknowledge those voices, to hear them, and to rewrite them. I have learned that guilt has no place in that moment. Feeling badly for him electively washing dishes is a story I created. And, that…I am always enough.
With all of that processing underway came the next step. Finding the emotional space and vulnerability to say, “Thank you. I appreciate what you’re doing. I appreciate you.” Funny how that piece can be so difficult, isn’t it? Funny how that piece of vulnerability sneaks up on you. The piece where you take your heartfelt words and put them out to be received.
To note, that was an example of something pleasant! In other cases, it means communicating something that feels unpleasant. The success of any relationship relies heavily on clear communication and expressed expectations. And rich relationships require that level of vulnerability. What this can mean is saying something like, “What you said, it hurt my feelings.” Or, “I’m struggling to feel important to you.” Or, “I’m sorry.” Saying words from a balanced place of head and heart, saying them calmly and clearly, and opening a conversation. A conversation that honors each of you as individuals and as a couple. (Wrapped deeply into this example is another example, one of setting and honoring boundaries, but we can talk about that another time.)
Look, in all vulnerability, I say here that I will never claim to have my life together. I will always continue to work on myself, to better my experience and live a more purposeful, fulfilled, and healthy life. I am a coach because, as a product of the process, I believe in the process and truly care about moving people forward.
Working largely with seven areas of self-care, I help overwhelmed, driven, do-it-all women to take meaningful time for themselves so that they can catch a relieving breath and do more of what brings them energy and joy. I work one-on-one with each client to learn their space and create personalized strategies.
Please take a moment to learn more. I have options for you, from a single Feel Better Now session to a full coaching package. Sign up for a free 20-minute coaching consult with me to learn more. Seriously, don’t hesitate, it’s simply a call to explore where you are and how you can work with me to move forward. No commitment required.
At the very least, grab your free guide, Seven Ways to Self-Care to learn more about what self-care actually is and how you can start feeling better today.