Hello to you! Stepping into December like the bad bitch you are! Look at you! You done made it.
Okay, now that I’m done gassing you up, let’s dive into today’s question: are you showing up for yourself? What does that look like to you? Every year is different, but we all know that this year’s been very much so. So, your cute January 2020 resolutions may have not matched with how the year played out. But, in the challenge that has often been just surviving this year (staying sane, changing goals) have you been the understanding best friend to yourself?
I’ve reflected on what it means to show up for myself for the last few weeks of this year, and to me, it can be summed up in three ways.
1. Committing to things I want to do
I’ve seen a few statements about how discipline is an act of self-love, and although I totally agree with that… dear lord, it just put too much pressure on me. I am working towards being able to call myself ‘disciplined,’ but since I have been battling depression a lot more this year, I’ve had to adjust my wording a bit when it comes to doing something every day. During the low days, the word ‘discipline’ just makes me feel terrible about myself. It makes me feel like the reason I’m struggling to get basic things done that day is because I’m lazy and/or a failure, and not because my brain is actually struggling to function that day.
However, when I look at it from the place of ‘I’ve always wanted to do x and I want to make that dream come true‘ then it becomes more about doing something nice for myself than about being a disciplined person.
I know I wanted to dance more this year, to start performing my music live, to write more scripts. Although those goals had to be worked and reworked, and were sometimes abandoned for weeks, it always felt so good to get back to them. Doing something that you’ve wanted to do is an amazing feeling, and in this strange up-and-down year, we need all the amazing feelings we can get.
So, without ‘discipline-shaming’ yourself: what are some things you’ve wanted to do? And how can you take 5-10 minutes in your day to work towards that?
2. Being attentive to my needs
As I mentioned in my post “Loving Yourself Through the Lows,” sometimes I just need a day. I know as a creative, it can be too easy to work every day and not give myself a day off. Sometimes, writing through the slower days works. Sometimes a morning on the couch watching comedy shows is just what the doctor ordered.
We very seldom actually want to do “nothing” all day, so I do have to check in with myself on my lower days to see if I do need to go outside, take a walk, call a friend or just dance to a banging track. Each day will be different.
I recently felt I needed to take a few days off of social media. I knew I needed to clear my head and reassess its place in my life. It was a tough few days with a lot of self-reflection, but if I had ignored that signal I would have been worse off for it.
So, what do you need in this moment? How can you meet that need?
3. Enforcing boundaries
Whew, boundaries. We’re talking about this a lot more as a society, and I’m glad for it. Although I’m getting better, I am still a work-in-progress when it comes to people-pleasing. I am now at the point where I can say no or speak up when I can’t do something, but I feel intense guilt over it for some time.
Progress is progress, however. And in this past week when I had to say no to something, I realised how I needed to show up for myself in that way. I could have done them this favour; however, knowing it was super late at night, would cost me money and that good night’s sleep made me prioritise my own health and productivity the next day over a favour they could ask someone else to do (and did– we overestimate our irreplaceability sometimes 🙃).
Enforcing boundaries, whether it’s with playing an extra late-night netball game or being at someone’s beck and call, is one of the strongest ways to show up for yourself. Choosing yourself over someone else, or someone else’s opinion of you, is not always easy, but it’s one of the greatest, most underrated acts of self-love and self-care.