We’re all human, doing our best in a challenging world. Despite our best intentions, there are times when we need a gentle reminder to be compassionate with ourselves.
I’m not the only person who forgets to be kind to myself because I often see this story come up in the Alchemy card readings I do with my friends and clients.
For example, while at the Gypsy Glampout at LeFleur Decor in Hadley, the Sustain card came up quite a few times. So much so that I made a little video about it.
“This card reminds us to take really good care of ourselves because when we do, we can take really good care of the people around us too. And that’s what creates a life worth living.“
Here we can see a mother swan, sitting on her nest, feeding her babies from her body. In the upper right corner, we see a tree representing the suit of health and a six indicating community and communication. The action word Sustain is at the top center with a balance below, referring to the degree of development showing a deepening of our understanding and personal growth.
Putting all these symbols together with the action word Sustain, we get the hint that to take care of anyone else, and we must first take good care of ourselves.
You can’t serve from an empty cup.
When we’re feeling like a C-, it’s impossible to offer an A+ effort.
We set ourselves up for disappointment when we push ourselves beyond our limits out of fear of disappointing someone or not living up to our expectations. Whether breaking something, making a mistake, hurting someone’s feelings, or creating resentment, nobody likes putting in effort only to have it all fall apart.
When that happens, it’s not unusual for the negative inner voice to kick in with mean and hurtful thoughts.
“It’s your own fault. You should have seen that coming.”
“That was awful. Why did you say that?!”
“You missed out on a perfect opportunity. Why didn’t you ____?“
Negative thoughts create a self-fulfilling prophecy and lower our self-esteem. This downward spiral can be hard to escape. Like a vortex, that depressive energy sucks us down, replaying the details of our mistake over and over in our head, using the facts of what happened as proof all is lost, we’ll never get it right, and it’s better to give up. Ugh!
We can’t promise we won’t make mistakes in the future. It’s just about a guarantee that we will! However, by using self-awareness and boundaries to understand ourselves better, we get back on track more quickly.
After reading cards the first night of the Gypsy Glampout and again the next day, I was starting to feel tired. Maybe I was feeling leftover from the pineapple mojitos that first night. Either way, it doesn’t matter. Despite looking forward to this event for weeks, I couldn’t deny feeling worn out by early afternoon the next day.
When the skies turned dark with an impending storm, I heard the rumble of thunder and took that as a sign to leave. It didn’t take long for me to pack up my cards and head home.
After a two-hour nap with Daisy, my cat, I felt a little better. Unfortunately, negative self-talk kicked in. Despite all the fun I’d had talking with people, meeting new friends, and doing card readings, I was disappointed with myself for not sticking it out and chatting with the rest of the glampers.
Old habits die hard.
While texting with my friend, Lisa, later that night, I could hear how awful I was being to myself. Out of bad habit, I realized I had let the voices in my head run rampant, “shoulding” on myself for not living up to my grand expectations.
Talking with my friend helped me to recognize two essential things. First, focusing on what I didn’t do wasn’t healthy or helping anyone. It only undermined my confidence and mental health. Secondly, this experience could be the inspiration for a blog post—an opportunity to communicate with my people and build a bridge to common ground.
This blog post is the fruit of that inspiration. Thanks for being here. I appreciate you. 🙂
We are all human beings.
Being hard on ourselves keeps us going in circles, frustrating ourselves and everyone else around us. Anxiety keeps us trapped in the story that we’re not enough. It ignores that we also have a Divine connection with which to look at ourselves. Listening to the voice of fear is a choice. It’s the ultimate decision between staying small and scared or growing and expanding to heal ourselves and serve our people.
As the suit of health on the Alchemy card suggests, making healthy choices to sustain ourselves and others begins within us. Knowing ourselves through our boundaries (physical, material, mental, emotional, sexual, spiritual, temporal, and virtual) allows us to see what’s appropriate and healthy and what’s not. We are healthy energy, looking at ourselves through the limits of our human existence. Challenges to our health are opportunities to see ourselves and what needs our attention. When we let go of unhealthy habits and take action to feel better, we honor ourselves and improve our quality of life.
Loving and keeping ourselves balanced and healthy enables us to be the best gift we offer. Not only do we feel better, but we can also be a good influence in the world, giving our best to others, creating good vibrations and a positive impact. We allow the Universe to work through us.
Yes, we’re going to make mistakes. And we can use them as opportunities to connect to our higher self and communicate with our people.
Although I would have loved to stay and finish the Glampout, leaving was necessary to honor my body and energy. My higher self recognized that, but my anxious self wanted to keep pushing. Old habits die hard.
If you recognize yourself in this story, remember that you’re not alone.
Stop being so hard on yourself.
We’re all doing the best we can with what we have. The world needs our healing and inspiration.
Love gives us the power to offer the gift of ourselves. Sometimes that gift feels like a shiny box with ribbons and bows. Other days, it feels like cold leftovers on a broken plate. Maybe the best we can do is a little brown sack lunch. Our daily energy depends on our quality of care and how we speak to ourselves.
“Self-care is not a selfish act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others.”Parker Palmer
When we focus on taking good care of ourselves, we feel stronger and more confident, giving us a better chance of providing the A+ care our loved ones most deserve. We can laugh at our blunders and move on, inspiring others to do the same. Grounding ourselves with a humble apology and promise to do better next time. We can improve the world by reaching out, sharing our stories, and letting others know they’re not alone.
How’s your inner dialogue been lately? How have you been taking good care of yourself?
Do you have someone who helps get you back on track? (I’d love to hear from you, if not.)
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
P.S. Thanks again to Kelly and everyone at the Gypsy Glampout at Le Fleur Decor in Hadley, MI. I look forward to seeing you all again next year!