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  • H.M. Jackson

Self-Care, Self-Compassion, and Self-Love

Self-Care, Self-Compassion, Self-Love. July 24th is National Self-Care Day, the date alone is a clever pun acknowledging Self-Care is important 24/7 - 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 


Self-Care is probably one of the hardest things for me to grasp because of everything it entails - putting yourself first, creating healthy boundaries, practicing self-compassion, and loving yourself. Sure, I often treat myself to a Starbucks in the morning and tell myself, “it’s self-care,” while that might be one way I do treat myself, I struggle when it comes to actually feeling the deeper feels, for myself


Here is what I have learned on Self-Care, Self-Compassion, and Self-Love, and trust me this is still a work in progress - I am no expert. 


Creating Healthy Boundaries


Boundaries? Having boundaries and knowing it’s okay, you deserve to create healthy boundaries, is something I am just learning. Setting healthy boundaries for yourself can be hard. When you enter your Healing Era, you will lose some, a few of the people you probably thought that you would never lose even, a few tell you, “you’ve changed,” and some may be upset and lean into you with guilt. However, the people, the friends, the family, that truly love you and want to see you put yourself first, are going to be right there, cheering you on, so happy to see you loving yourself, and putting yourself first. The ones that matter will still be by your side. It is going to be the ones that weren’t truly in it, instead they were in it for how you benefited them, that you lose and give you guilt. Of course to these individuals you’ve changed, especially if you are no longer the “yes man." Don't let these individuals try to make you think the change is negative, yes you've changed, but it's such a positive change. You are loving yourself, being the best version of you, living your best life. 


You cannot drain your battery for someone else at your expense constantly. It will completely wipe you out, at least for me it does. The first time you create the boundary, certain people will push back, you will have to re-enforce the boundary at times, and eventually if one person can’t respect the boundaries you created, it’s okay to walk away. To clarify, walking away or losing someone is hard, and it will likely come with some hurt, but the reinvented you will be thankful as time goes on. 


Self-Compassion.


Another area I struggle with. I like to think I provide compassion in my relationships because it’s a trait I value, but giving myself compassion? No way. I’m learning it is just as important to be kind, compassionate, and caring to ourselves, as it is to others. What’s not helpful? Beating ourselves up. My therapist will often throw out “what would you tell your best friend?” Besides the fact, my best friend is a true Bad A**, “of course if she said that about herself I would tell her…., but we aren’t talking about her.” For me, I hear the words, I understand how important the concept of practicing Self-Compassion, and Self-Love is, but I don’t feel it inside. 


The little things I have learned when trying to actively practice: 


Be kind to yourself.


  • I have an extremely difficult time if I have made a mistake, done something wrong, or upset someone I didn't mean to. Doing something wrong - is a concept I beat myself up on the most. The guilt, shame, angriness, I ruminate on it. It can spiral my thoughts for a few hours, or days if it was an issue large enough. If I catch myself ruminating, I stop the thought, and say in my head “it’s okay, I love you,  It was a mistake.” It will be different for everyone, it may not always work, but I am working on being forgiving, compassionate, kind and loving to me with simple reminders. 


Mindfulness.


  • Another area I am working on, and it's a huge component of Self-Care. Honestly, Mindfulness can improve various aspects in our day to day lives. As it relates to being mindful with Self-Compassion, I read something that has truly resonated for me, hopefully it will for you: 


My therapist recommended the book “Good Morning, I love you,” by Shauna Shapiro. I have never been an avid reader, in fact, reading is one of my least favorite activities. I finally ordered a copy of the book, and then ended up listening to the audio version on my drive back from a road trip. It was a phenomenal book. The author was sharing a story about an experience at a retreat where she was trying so hard to focus on mindfulness, but her mind continued wondering and she quickly became frustrated with herself. This is what she was taught: 


"Oh dear, you’re not practicing mindfulness. You’re practicing judgment, impatience, and frustration.” Followed with, “what you practice grows stronger.” The teaching continued in the book with, “if we practice mindfulness with judgment, we are growing in judgment. If we practice with frustration, we are growing in frustration. Mindfulness isn’t just about paying attention, it’s how we pay attention.” 


Aha, like a lightbulb went off in my head. The story and teaching with this experience helped me understand the concept much better. For me, it helped reinforce, I cannot beat myself up by being angry, because when I do that, the only thing I’m practicing is how to be angry with myself. Yes, I need to pay attention to be mindful, but I need to pay attention with the intent of what I’m working towards, because “what you practice grows stronger.” 


Not everyone is going to have the same practices for Self-Care, it’s just important you find something that works for you. Not only today, but every day, try to practice Self-Care, Self-Compassion and Self-Love. Small steps in these areas will grow with such a positive impact over time. Be kind to your mind, take the trip, listen to the music, unwind, whatever activity brings you peace, make a habit of it. 









⎻ H.M. Jackson


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