Self-care ideas

Ideas and inspiration about the need to care for ones self

No Proof Necessary

by

Have you ever noticed that when you are motivated to do something in order to prove a point (to yourself or even more futilely, to someone else) that things usually don’t go very well?

I have!

Seems as though proving just isn’t a great motive.

Think of it: when you try to prove to someone that you can keep your house clean all the time, it’s just frustrating when that someone comes unannounced, and the “proof” you wanted to show vanishes, among a million Legos.

And what about wanting to prove that you’re a good parent to the neighborhood, and yet you lose your cool while driving the car pool?

Or if you are trying to prove that you are a good member of X,Y or Z, your heart isn’t in your devotion or commitment or to the benefits of your membership because you’re too busy focusing on what you appear to be, not what you are.

Striving for clean, honest motives (or that which motivates our actions) is where it’s at. And it usually doesn’t have as much to do with other people as it has to do with us and God. Only He knows truly what is in our hearts and why we do what we do; how hard we are trying, and if our behavior is fueled by goodness and decency and love, or if it is motivated by wanting to look good, not necessarily to be good.

And since He already knows all about us and the state of our hearts, maybe we can drop the proving thing altogether.

We are loved and valued by Him and we are validated by that love.  Yes, we can have expectations for ongoing growth and for gaining wisdom and for keeping ourselves open to learning even through the difficulties we experience, but we don’t have to prove our worth.

We already have that.

Much love to you.

Jacque

Beauty Balance

by

In our self-nurturing behavior, we find our drawing power.  That is, we draw others to us when we are rested, washed, combed, peaceful, honored, happy and content.  Do you have desire to teach your children, and to be a positive influence to your spouse? Then, do what it takes to nurture yourself, and you will, with kindness and beauty, draw them to you!

Get tired of trying to chase people down?  Stop chasing.  Say your declarations. Take some time for your hair and or your face and or put on some nice, clean, attractive and comfortable clothes.  And take time to feel the love that others offer to you.  And you will turn into a magnet!  Your feminine gift of drawing others to you is born and strengthened by your self-nurturing habits.  So pour them on!

Should you take time for styling your hair or applying simple make-up?  Well, will that help you to feel more at ease with yourself?  Will it help you to forget yourself and focus on others?  Yes? Then, yes, by all means take the time!

How much time is enough or too much?  That’s up to you.  I’m a bit on the practical side, and if my hair takes longer than two minutes to style or if my make-up takes longer than three, I simplify it back down! But simple is my nature.  Maybe you spend more time than that and thoroughly enjoy it!  Great!

The idea, as I see it is to go for balance.  And for each of us that may mean a different thing.

And here is an important  piece of the balancing act: it seems that when we embrace our unique selves on the inside, that self-acceptance shows up on the outside, in the way we care for ourselves and the way we present ourselves to the world.  But I’m not so sure that it works in reverse.  If you get a new dress, does looking nice when you are wearing it compensate for feelings of guilt or shame or other negative states of being?  I wouldn’t think so.

So a large part of finding the “beauty balance” is to do the inner work it takes to truly feel and think and speak kindly to yourself.  But don’t expect that you can find the right hairstyle that will finally help you to gain the self-acceptance you’ve been craving.  Do the work, then enjoy the fruits!  And the fruit of self-love is the giving of the self to others, in genuine, clearly motivated acts of kindness.

Be beautiful!  Enjoy womanhood!  Pamper yourself!  Be kind in every thought directed toward yourself.  And your family will be blessed.

Much love,

Jacque

Virtue & Vice

by

Sometimes we are just clueless.

Sometimes we want what we want (no thinking about it) and so we fail to open our vision to the long-term consequences of our decisions.  And then sometimes we just can’t see that far ahead.

Do you ever have situations when you can’t see the problem with some vice you’ve adopted, and then over time become unsure whether it is even a vice at all?

What is vice?

This is what I think:

A vice is a behavior or habit that at first glance appears to be a supportive move. Something that will help you get from A to B.  It may be a Coke that gets you through a long project, a codependent relationship that seems to take care of all your needs for now, or it could be something far bigger like a little daily meth that helps you keep up with your job and your kids and your house and, and, and….

What makes it a vice, is the fact that at some point there is a kickback.  A moment when you will have to ‘pay the piper’ so to speak.  When that ‘helpful’ little crutch will take something from you and leave you in worse shape than when you first started to rely on it. It’s like a bad loan, whose interest rate grows daily and leaves you less and less able to pay in the end.

And how is vice different from virtue?  Virtue is moral strength and if we were to define a habit or a behavior by it, we’d say that it is something that is truly supportive even in the long, long run.  It’s a habit that begets more strength, a behavior that makes it easier and easier for us to behave better. It’s doing the right things with the right motivation. It’s “choosing the harder right instead of the easier wrong.”

Now, I used drinking Coke as an example of vice, and I hope you’ll forgive such a small thing to mention.  It really is a very simple thing, not high up on the vice scale right?

So what does a shot of caffeine do for a body?  It stimulates it and wakes it up! So, does drinking a Coke offer you real, sustainable strength? Said differently, does it resemble the ‘wake-up’ we feel after a good night’s sleep? Well, no, we know it’s a temporary fix right?  A quick fix for that tired slugged out feeling come about 2:00 in the afternoon?

And is that so bad?

Well, maybe not.  Unless it consistently keeps you from getting rest.

Unless it rescues you from having to look closely at your schedule and take out the superfluous and unnecessary so that you can find some reasonable, healthful balance.

Unless the tide-over keeps you from having to unwind your mind and deal with the mental clutter and cobwebs that are keeping you from feeling whole and fresh and growing.

Unless all of those human ‘housekeeping’ needs that are being avoided are effecting your relationships and keeping you from going deeper and building stronger bonds with those you love.

And maybe it’s a problem as simple as the soda keeping you from drinking the water that your body is screaming for, and the string of headaches you’re having because you’re chronically dehydrated…which leads to pain killers…ah hem, you get what I’m saying here?

Maybe I shouldn’t have used soda as an example.  Some of you may want to let me know what an idealistic simpleton I am, and you may be absolutely right.

But, I chose such a seemingly little vice in order to make a point.

And that is that even though drinking soda will not land you in jail or help you to see the need for addiction recovery support, it isn’t supporting you either and most likely will come calling for payment later, as all vices do.

Maybe the debt will be in unwanted weight that your joints and your heart get to carry around every day; maybe it will be in bone loss or infertility issues.  Maybe that tiny vice will come to collect by stripping the enamel from your teeth or simply by making you endure the vague, uneasy feeling that you are not in charge of you.

My hope is that we will become better and better at seeing our vices, large and small, for what they are.  And hopefully we can come, fast or slow, but come, to a realization of the beauty, the strength-giving, relationship-building and confidence-boosting goodness of virtue.

Please take good care of yourself today!

Much love,

Jacque

 

 

 

Dear Lovely Self

by

If you could talk to your younger self, say, yourself ten years ago, what would you say?

I imagine that I would say something Iike;

Guess what?  Everything is going to be ok!  Yes, you’re going to make it through the mission, through the heart break, through the college admissions and wedding (and you’ll be able to do the luncheon on your grocery budget, so don’t sweat.)

I might say, gird up, because your daughter will be on a fast-track to adulthood, she’ll get better after the scary hepatitis, and again, you’ll live through the wedding and it will be beautiful!

I would definitely say, the group home is going to work out!!!  And it is going to be a success, so you don’t need to stress any more.  There will be lessons learned and friends made and you will grow a lot too.  And you will be grateful for the lessons and the wisdom.

Further, I might say guess what?  In a few years from now, the mystery pain that has been debilitating in episodes is going to be identified!  Serious!  At last there will be a doctor who will hear you, go to bat for you and hit the ball out of the park. Man!  I’m so excited!!!

Yes, there will be times that your heart will break. But you will be upheld and strengthened then too.

And…what about the grand children that were on the way, and how can I even express to myself how much I would and do love them?!

Those are some of the things I could tell my younger self.

What would your present self say to your young self?  Could I invite you to take a minute or two and write that dialogue out?  Really, and I’ll tell you why…

Because, when you get those words out, then we’re going to switch-up the dates! We’re just going to change the heading from, “what I would say to my younger self,” to, “what my older self would say to me now.”

Hindisght is amazing isn’t it?  Full of understanding and lessons learned and wisdom gained. And it seems that the common thread throughout my personal notes to myself is, DON’T WORRY, THINGS ARE GOING TO WORK OUT.

Little sister, it is true.  Things are going to work out.  And if you can believe that, how would you live your life differently if you could function from that position, instead of the anxiety or worry that you deal with now? How would you love?  How would you hope? How would you plan?

Food for thought.

I hope you’ll eat up!

Love always,

Jacque

You AND Me

by

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t have the need to think about using inter-dependent skills vs. auto pilot co-dependency habits in my relationships.  Can you relate to that at all?

And I’m trying to get faster at recognizing when I am spending my time trying to avoid having a clarifying conversation, rather than just hauling off and having it in the first place!

Do you struggle with this too?  You know, when you need to tell your spouse something that could come across as nit picky or demanding and so you want to get your head wrapped around it your own motives clearly first so that you don’t put him on the defense from the get go?  Or if you need to clarify something with a parent, maybe you want to be treated more as an adult and you need them to back off a little, but you don’t want to offend them?  Or, you have something you need to say to a co-worker or friend or a grown child?

These are dicey moments for most of us.
And here are a few things I’ve learned, often the hard way!

Think safety first:
If your statements come across as accusatory or like a judgement, the other person is not going to feel drawn into a positive discussion but rather like they have to put their gloves on and defend themselves!

Create safety by keeping your language in first person, I feel, I think, I hope, etc.  We don’t know how others think or why they do what they do, so to speak for them, as in, you always, or you thought or you felt, not only backfires but also is pretty presumptuous.  After all, the goal of having a conversation at all is to create better understanding, and that can only come by a free exchange of both perspectives.

Second, get super clear about your own contribution to the situation:

You know you’re in trouble if you think that the situation is all someone else’s fault! (Understatement of the world.) We just can’t really pull apart all of the ways that each conversation, each subtle communication of body language on both sides, contributes to the creation of situations good and bad.  We are half of the relationship and half of the success or failure of each situation.  When we get that going into a difficult conversation, we will be light years ahead and on our way to growth.

In short, if we’re in a dance with someone, and one of us stops dancing, there’s no more dance.  Ha!  If you won’t fight, there isn’t a fight.  If you won’t argue, there isn’t an argument.  If you refuse to shout, there won’t be a shouting match.  If you reject the temptation to accuse, there won’t be a competition about who is right and who is wrong.

I hope we will all keep trying to improve our relaitonships by:
Not postponing important conversations
Setting the conversation up with safety
Understanding our responsibility for the success of the relationship
Recognizing our power to disengage in negative communication

I love you.
God bless.
Jacque