You know the distinction between self-care and extreme self-care by the lengths of your efforts. Self-care is not the same thing as getting our needs met. Extreme self-care is more commonly recognized and understood these days as “emotional intelligence,” knowing how to recognize and react healthfully to our own and other’s emotions. It also involves mindfulness, a psychological state of being aware of our own and other’s emotions, and maintaining an organized and integrated mind. Obviously getting the right amount of sleep, eating well, and regular exercise are important, but it is essential to benefit from our own actions and then to be part of encouraging and supportive relationships.
I am a sort of writer. Every day, I sit in my favorite comfy chair by a sunny window and write about my personal thoughts, feelings, ideas, experiences, and personal and professional experiences as a Psychologist. My writing reflects a journey—a transformative journey at that. And writing is the tool that I wield, hoping it will help me evolve through this journey to experience my own personal masterpiece. Writing is also therapeutic, and I believe it to be more potent than any therapy you’ll ever find.
Though I might hate to admit it, there was a time I felt isolated and alone, like Charlie Brown, I had a dark cloud follow me around. Worse yet, I escaped incarceration by a narrow margin for holding a recreational drug that is now legal. Although commonplace, strictly speaking, this was considered by many to be a mental health issue—a behavioral problem. And I’m not even sure how it happened.
As a young teen, my life felt chaotic, unaligned, one action providing me with a briefly positive outcome, only to morph and expand into bigger, more troubling issues. As a young man, I decided to leave the so-called support of my family and friends to move into the brighter lights of a larger city and escape the looming tragedy that seemed to be hunting me down. It seemed to be the obvious and right decision to make at the time. But later, it turned out to be problematic anyway. My situation might have made me fearful, but by taking a narrow view and only considering myself, I simultaneously marginalized others by my lack of consideration for their feelings. The move improved my life in many ways, yet our decisions have a ripple effect that we may find difficult to anticipate.
Regardless of where we live on this planet, we routinely pull away from our families at a certain age. We need to assert a higher degree of freedom and autonomy in our lives, but “don’t do it alone,” a financially successful yet emotionally parched client once warned me. At that particular time in life, I definitely had more concern for myself than empathy for others. My primary concern was to escape from what felt like the invisible clutches of an egocentric, controlling, yet deceptively enigmatic force. Perhaps this is understandable. In retrospect, I could have made the transition to my new home more palatable for everyone. That might have been a more successful reflection of extreme self-care.
To reiterate, done differently, demonstrating more concern for family and friends may have made things easier for me, but I just didn’t realize it at the time. I couldn’t see beyond the smoke and mirrors of my life. In fact, the more I examine my past, the greater the clarity and confusion. They come together you know, as a pair, not only one at a time.
Extreme self-care encompasses self-care and is also about how well we treat others, it includes preparation and reflection. It includes caring for those closest to us. When they are hurt, we will feel it too. But major life changes often leave someone fallen and hurt in its wake. It’s unavoidable. I suppose that I’m urging you to develop a broader sense of who you see yourself to be – your “identity.”
Self-care, of course, is critical to anyone’s success. Our goal may be to feel happier, more confident, reduce unwanted feelings of stress, anxiety, or depression. Even if our mission is more aspirational in nature, don’t neglect yourself or those around you. Practicing extreme self-care will increase the probability of accomplishing our desires and getting our needs met.
Meditation is an essential component of my personal self-care routine. When we add professional consultations to our life, that can now be “extreme self-care,” too. Consultations will likely include emotional exploration, supportive strategy sessions, and psychological assessments. They will illuminate your personal strengths and unveil opportunities. They will also provide us with fresh new potential for creating an enhanced life vision, which will undoubtedly include others.
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 “other-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.
Spending some time reflecting or meditating upon the number of responsibilities you’ve taken on is helpful. Also, reflect on the percentage of your week you spend on fun and meaningful activities. Then focus on how much support you experience from family and friends. These are all essential.
Also essential is cultivating a new degree of depth to your thinking. Concern yourself with your goals. Have an “ideal vision” for your future. Aim to achieve what’s important to you – such as a peaceful existence, love, and harmony – and not merely money or material wealth as a substitution. Meditation can assist you with this.
Balancing your various interests is valuable, of course. Even more crucial is managing your thoughts, beliefs, expectations, and general understandings of your goals and objectives. Consider the emotional states that exerting effort toward each of these generates? This is definitely where working with a senior Psychologist will prove invaluable.
Consider more than just your most immediate goal. Self-care is a dynamic process, more complicated than just having a bubble bath, letting yourself go fishing on Saturday or even pulling an all-nighter. The choices that we have and the decisions we make require guidance. We need a rudder or a vision that we allow to direct our decision-making process.
Have a plan or focus on a bigger picture that can be assembled over time. We – little by little – bring into life an ideal situation by utilizing our imagination and efforts. Practice emotional intelligence skills, such as empathy for ourselves and others.
Here’s a valuable exercise. Recall an exceptional moment in time you’ve experienced. Alternatively, imagine one. Now, with those same remarkable feelings awakened, apply them to your current goals and projects.
Often one of the most significant hurdles that we need to learn to overcome lives within our minds. Self-confidence is vital 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 as being similar to a cake that you want to bake. 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. What have your experiences led you to believe about the meaning of your life? Add what you are good at and allows you to 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. Encountering our own inner argumentative dialogue that says “this is who we are” means bad, negative, incapable isn’t an easy experience.
We need to make our thoughts, beliefs, and expectations work for us, not against us. Use meditation to see yourself in a new way. Consult your counselor. Start to feel robust and capable of extreme self-care. 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. Begin a victory list and review it daily. Identify meaningful things that you are involved in. Make a list of your family, social circle, clubs, or organizations. Cultivate the missing link to your happiness and your accomplishments. These activities also represent the process of extreme self-care.
I’ve been considering for many years now my “inner leader,” “inner child,” and even my “inner therapist.” Using our minds to review our thoughts – not just think them – may be a somewhat new concept for a few. However, how we feel and the ideas that run through our minds are not solely neutral. They are not just a course of nature or a reflection of our biology. Realize that it’s our inner minds that hold power for us, not our neurons.
Through extreme self-care, we come to know ourselves. We learn to realize the power we have to cultivate how we think. Examine our beliefs, expectations, the actions we take, and their impact on others. Ultimately, how we feel is in our control. Our emotional zone can give rise to our best.
Learning about self-care and extreme self-care has been an essential 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 ignore those most important to me, which causes me pain and discomfort.
Extreme self-care is not merely a set of skills. They’re not to be memorized and forgotten but are an inherently valuable part of personal discipline. It has been an issue of creating a new, fresh lifestyle. One that assists me to balance my inner drives with my emotional needs. The skills of self-care reflect my daily discipline of meditation.
Consider starting today and making extreme self-care work for you, too. The results can last forever. Perfect the process of extreme self-care. Engage with your Psychologist and introduce your desires and your needs to the power of your personal strengths.
An enhanced life vision evolves from a strong identity. It develops from our imagination’s efforts at discovering or coming to realize our purpose. Our purpose, as I define it, is a sweet spot.
What we value intersects with our passions, beliefs, and what’s best for all of us – the greater good. But this “super-state” must involve texturing our mind. It must bolster our efforts to develop what’s significant and meaningful to us and cultivate the Good Life. Reading, writing, and meditation continue to be a foundational part of my process.