Though I might hate to admit it, there was a time I felt isolated and alone. I am not even sure how it happened. As a young man, I made the decision to leave the support of my family and friends to move to a larger city. It was the right decision to make, but it was also a part of the problem.
Regardless of where we live on this planet, at a certain age, we pull away from our families to assert a greater degree of freedom and autonomy in our lives. At that particular time of life, I definitely had more concern for myself than I had empathy for others, also part of my problem. In retrospect, I could have made the transition to my new home more palatable for everyone. That is, demonstrating more concern for family and friends would have likely also made things easier for me, but I just didn’t realize it at the time. Extreme self-care then is not only about how well we treat ourselves. It includes caring for those closest to us, for when they are hurt, we will feel it too.
Self-care is critical to any success. Whether our goal is to feel happier, more confident, reduce unwanted feelings of stress, anxiety, depression, or even if our mission is more aspirational in nature. Practicing self-care will increase the probability of accomplishing our desires and getting our needs met.
I distinguish “extreme self-care” from self-care. When we add professional consultations to our life, that is now “extreme self-care.” These consultations will likely include emotional exploration, supportive strategy sessions and psychological assessments that will illuminate our personal strengths and opportunities, as well as providing us with a fresh new potential for creating an enhanced life vision.
What is Self-Care?
First of all, self-care does not imply that you drop all of your responsibilities and focus on yourself, exclusively. It doesn’t mean that you have to practice an unusually high number of self-focused activities either. Self-care does not necessarily refer to ensuring that you are working hard. It does not naturally mean that you hang with your friends several times a week. But spending some time reflecting upon the number of responsibilities you’ve taken on, the percentage of your week you spend on fun or meaningful activities, and how much support you experience from family and friends is essential.
Any of these may be productive, as far as activities go, but do not necessarily function as self-care, although they might. Think of it like having to study for an exam. Sometimes what is best for us is to stay in and study, sometimes it is best for us to explore new or challenging material with friends, but if we have already studied and we are likely to ace the exam next week, going out this weekend might be part of self-care. So too might be helping a friend study for the same test.
Consider more than just your most immediate goal. Self-care is a dynamic process, more complicated than just having a bubble bath or letting yourself go fishing on Saturday. The choices that we have and the decisions we make require guidance, a rudder or a vision that we allow to direct our decision-making process. A bigger picture that we assemble over time. An ideal situation that we – little by little – bring into life through the utilization of our imagination, empathy for ourselves and others, and our ability to be disciplined with day to day decisions and activities.
Often one of the most significant hurdles that we need to learn to overcome lives within our minds. Self-confidence is important to all of us. Perhaps we have not yet realized our strength and power. Do you see yourself as a responsible contributor to your interpersonal environment or do you see yourself as a tourist? One perspective is empowering. The other creates victimhood.
Think of your mind similar to a cake that you want to bake, for example. It is reasonable to assume that you have endured and suffered enough over the years. You have paid for any mistakes that you’ve made early on in life. You have learned from your experiences. Now design your personal strategy for your life, for this cake you want to bake. It should be founded on the knowledge of both your strengths and vulnerabilities, add what you are good at and makes you feel good, eliminate the rest. Build in action plans to address your specific tastes and the tastes of those you want to share life with. This may just be what it means to be on point, emotionally.
None of us are perfect. We all struggle with balancing the ingredients of life. See yourself in a new way. Start to feel robust and capable of extreme self-care, and then life can begin to turn in your favor. Start to see your personal evolution. Notice how your career has evolved. Recognize that you are respected. Make a note of your capabilities. Identify for yourself things that you are involved in, such as your family and social circle, clubs or organizations. Cultivate the missing link to your happiness and your accomplishments. These activities represent the process of extreme self-care.
It has been popular for many years now to find books on cultivating your “inner leader,” caring for your “inner child,” and even accepting guidance from your “inner therapist.” Using our minds to review our thoughts – not just to think – maybe a somewhat new concept for some. However, how we feel and the thoughts that run through our memories, are not merely there, as a course of nature, or a reflection of our biology. Through extreme self-care, we come to know and to fully realize the power we have to cultivate how we think, our beliefs, expectations, the actions we take and their impact on others, and ultimately how we feel.
Learning about self-care and extreme self-care has been an important aspect of my personal journey in life. It ultimately addresses and has created a solution for my feeling isolated and alone. From time to time I still forget myself and it causes me pain and discomfort again. At other times, I forget those most important to me and my life and that too causes me pain and discomfort.
Extreme self-care is not merely a set of skills to be memorized and forgotten but are an essentially valuable part of my personal discipline. It assists me to balance my inner drives with my emotional needs. Skills of self-care reflect my daily discipline which I practice regularly. Consider starting today and making extreme self-care work for you too. The results can last forever. Perfect the process of extreme self-care by engaging with your Psychologist and introducing your desires and your needs to the power of your personal strengths.