Caring for yourself. Everyone wants to do that or be able to do that for themselves. No one wants to deny themselves the opportunity to love themselves unconditionally. Do they?

Often times people don’t know how to. Neither do I. I hear the term very often. But what does that mean? Buying myself hot chocolate to cheer myself up? Or do they mean taking better care of my mental health?

Where do you even start with self-care?

Over the last few months I have realized that awareness is the first step. If you are aware of it.  You can do something about it. But it is very hard to solve a problem that you didn’t even know you had.

Alright, I know I have a problem with the way I talk to myself. What now?

Realize it. Accept it. Understand how you got here. Know what the issue is. Admit to yourself that you have an issue. But also accept the fact that you are not happy with this issue and the situation you are in. Accept that you want to do better. That you are capable of doing better.

Talk yourself through it. Like you would talk your best friend through an issue they had. With kindness. Understanding. Compassion. With love. Unconditional love regardless of how ugly the truth might seem at the moment.

Realize that you are not alone. I believe everyone has different issues because everyone gets challenged in a way that is most challenging for them. What you might see as an challenge might not be one for me and vise versa. That doesn’t change the fact that everyone has their own personal problems. I am not saying rejoice in knowing that others have issues. Just that you are not alone. There is nothing new under the sun. Somewhere, someone has gone through what you are going through. If they can come out on the other side. So can you.

Remember, so far you have survived 100% of the bad and worst days.

Allow yourself forgiveness. Growth. Love. Want the best for yourself. Not in a selfish way but in a way of: I want to be good and I want other to be good too.

If you find yourself in a situation that makes you feel bad for any reason. Accept that you feel that way. Get yourself out of that situation. Don’t try to suppress how you feel by ignoring it. Don’t concern yourself with not wanting to ruin the fun by staying at a party you don’t want to be at anymore. Please leave. You are not doing yourself or others justice.

Concern for others is imperative but not before your own mental health, feelings and sanity. That’s not healthy.

Love yourself enough to take care of yourself.

Whatever that means to you in that moment. If it’s not eating junk food because you want to stay committed to your diet. Then do that. If it’s leaving a party you don’t want to be at. Then do that too. Whatever taking care of yourself means in that moment. Prioritize it.

Taking care of yourself is not selfishly taking away from others. Not at all. It’s just saying; I am important enough to be taken care of as well.

If you needed that nudge. The permission to start the journey of loving yourself. Here you go. Please take care of yourself. It will make you a happier person. It will fill your cup. So your cup can overflow and you can help other fill their own cups too.

It will help you shine inside out. Just remember that it’s a journey. You will have days where you can effortlessly love yourself and be compassionate. But there are also days where that’s not as easy to achieve. Love yourself anyway.

For those of us who come from broken homes bearing burdens of painful pasts. You have to teach yourself what taking care of yourself means in a healthy way. You might not have seen what that looks like. Felt what it feels like. That wasn’t your fault. It wasn’t in your control. But how to take care of yourself as an adult. Is entirely within your control.

Grow. Learn. Love. Change. Progress. Do it for yourself. And do it with love.