Self-care is not only about going on holidays or taking hot baths. Taking care of oneself means that I am in touch with the totality of who I am at any given time. I care, and therefore I listen to myself and I take responsibility for my wellbeing in any area of my life: physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually.
Our emotions are a big part of our human experience. When we deny our internal discomfort, we are neglecting and abandoning ourselves.
We are wired to avoid pain. We can escape from it in multiple ways, from the most radical ones: entering a new relationship, finding a new job or moving countries, to the more mundane such as distracting ourselves with internet, sex, food or alcohol.
When we consciously choose to sit with the pain, keeping the presence and the connection with what is arising, we are fighting against our natural survival instinct, and therefore reshaping our minds. When we train ourselves to remain aware and fully present, without dissociating from or bypassing the so-called ‘’negative’’ emotions, they become our allies, instead of toxic influences that poison our lives.
If we stay in touch with what arises, the sadness, the hopelessness, the rage, and we pay attention to the ideas behind these feelings, we would be able to process them. We need to learn how to contain our emotional experience without judgment, without falling into the trap of blaming others or playing the victim.
Our emotions put us in motion. Our anger, experienced mindfully, help us set proper boundaries and express ourselves assertively. Our sadness helps us grieve the many losses we encounter. Emotions are a response to what we are experiencing, they guide us in the direction we need to go in order to recover our balance. That is why we don’t want to suppress or ignore them. After processing our emotions we regain our internal balance and we are able to continue our lives with a higher degree of coherence and harmony.
We want and need to grow emotionally. Emotional maturity allows us to relate in a more constructive and compassionate manner with ourselves and with others.
”You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Buddha