if you have a single social media account, i am sure you have been inundated with messages about “self-care” – many of the people in my friend group, myself included, talk about this concept frequently.
when i looked up the definition of self-care, it was described as “any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional and physical health. although it is a simple concept in theory, it is something we very often overlook. good self-care is key to improved mood and reduced anxiety.” common forms of self-care include getting a good amount of sleep, exercising or spending time doing something relaxing – my favorite form of relaxation is taking a candlelit bath with a good playlist. self-care is thought to be something that is healing, or at least that is how i frequently hear it pitched in mainstream media. there seems to be a missing piece.
elizabeth (or biz, as i call her), an awesome mama bear of two who seems to constantly post things that speak to my soul shared this earlier this year. i cannot count how many times i have reread it.
“be brave enough to heal yourself even when it hurts.” -bianca sparacino
i do not say this just as a therapist, i say it as a person who is constantly working on self-improvement: self-care is not just about great rem cycles, yoga and bubble baths, self-care is also truly doing the work necessary in order to heal. that is the shit i don’t see discussed enough. when i think of the most significant self-care, it has been based around having difficult conversations with people i love, setting crucial boundaries and spending time working with a therapist, even when it took every ounce of strength i had in me.
something i tell each of my clients during our first session is this: before we go any further, i want you to know that before things get better, frequently, they have to get worse. we are going to dig deep and that may unearth some things you thought were resolved. i just want to be transparent about that before we move forward. are you open to doing the work? and then i let them decide.
i let them decide if they are brave enough to heal themselves, even when it hurts.
now, anyone that knows me will tell you that my dream home has an insane tub in the master bath because that is one of my favorite ways to decompress. as much as i love bubble baths, they do not take the place of the devastatingly beautiful work i have done in order to truly heal. while a bubble bath might transport me to a different place for the hour i spend in the tub, if i am not doing the work to truly address the problems that are present, they will be waiting there for me the second i step out of the tub. if that is the case, am i really taking care of myself?
true healing often involves true discomfort. it might even hurt. but trust me, it hurts so good.
are you brave enough to heal yourself even when it hurts? i would love to hear about it.