After months and months, I finally went for a deep tissue massage the other day. As I suspected, it was a torture session and exactly what I needed. Had I gone sooner it wouldn’t have been so painful.
But I waited until the pain under my left shoulder blade was almost constant and radiated down my side. The knots all over my back were fierce and my muscles were tight like ropes.
I had fallen into the trap of neglecting myself once again!
How many of you can relate?
I thought I had learned my lesson when I was 30 and developed serious back problems because of self-neglect. However, even though I take much better care of myself now, I still find it difficult to do certain things, like stretching and abdominal strengthening exercises daily.
I would much rather work with my clients, forge ahead with my videos and blogs, than pay attention to my body. Eventually the distress signals it sends out can no longer be ignored.
I’ve noticed that when I need to prioritize tasks, the ones that I enjoy and make me happy, are relegated to the bottom of the list. This means that they are often skipped in favour of those things that “need” to be done. This is deep conditioning that we are often not even aware of.
Balance is necessary to maintain a healthy mind, body and soul. Engaging in activities that make us laugh, give us pleasure and joy are not unimportant! They are actually crucial to maintaining a positive outlook, as well as stamina and productivity.
From what I’ve seen and heard from other women, it seems to me that we are conditioned from very young to feel guilty if we self-care.
We are given the message that we are selfish or self-indulgent and that things like massage and exercise classes are frivolous.
Those of us who are taking care of families are even more prone to that kind of thinking and so we continually put ourselves last.
There is also the even more subtle message, that we are not deserving.
Self-Love and YOU
Self-love is the central linchpin of human existence and the first step
on the path to reclaiming your Sovereignty.
– Ileana Rontea
“33 Loving Messages from Source”
I believe that the root of the problem is in our lack of self-love. Some women even cringe when they hear that term. What does it mean, exactly? What is self-love and how does it affect every aspect of your life?
Self-love covers many things. First and foremost, it is a state of self-appreciation and high regard for oneself and one’s own well-being. It also implies self-knowledge and self-awareness. As you come to realize those things that are no longer good for you, you eventually (hopefully) stop doing them.
For example, a few months ago, I realized that my body no longer tolerates any form of alcohol, no matter how little. I experimented for a while to see if I could drink white wine, versus cocktails, versus red wine, but the result was always the same – I felt horrible the next day.
And so despite the fact that I enjoyed drinking socially, I completely stopped all alcohol intake. And I confess that I haven’t missed it at all! I now drink sparkling water with lime and am perfectly content.
I am not implying that anyone who drinks alcohol needs to stop. What I am saying is that becoming aware of what is happening inside of ourselves and how we react to certain stimuli is extremely important, especially as we age and our bodies and minds begin to shift in different ways.
Self-love means that we don’t abuse ourselves in any way – physically, emotionally, or mentally. We also do not allow others to abuse us, belittle us or disempower us in any way. It calls for strong boundaries and valuing our well-being above everything else.
Sometimes this is not an easy road to walk as some of us have settled for relationships, jobs, lives that are not ultimately serving our highest good. Self-love calls us to walk away from what is not working, and following the path that leads toward our highest self-expression.
Self-love also connects us to our own divine Higher Self, by opening our hearts and creating a richer bond to our deep inner knowing. If we truly love ourselves, we will try not to self-harm, whether by action or inaction. We begin to treat ourselves as we would a precious little one.
Once we begin to view ourselves in this light, we open the door to communing with our inner child. Much healing work can be done in this way, as many of us did not feel loved in childhood.
Self-Love is Not Selfish
Do not confuse self-love with selfishness. The former is necessary to healthy personal development. There is nothing healthy about the latter.
– Ileana Rontea
“33 Loving Messages From Source”
Let’s talk a little bit about selfishness here. How is it different from self-love? Self-love is about treating yourself with respect and concern, but it does not mean you don’t care for anyone else.
Being self-loving and also loving others, are behaviours that stem from a heart full of compassion for everyone. If you learn to take care of yourself in a loving and nurturing way, that love will inevitably spill out to the world around you.
Being selfish on the other hand, means that you treat others like “commodities”. When you need them, you call on them. You might do nice things for them, but the ulterior motive is a self-serving one. There is very little true giving from the heart when someone is being selfish.
We all know people who only remember us if they need/want something from us. Sometimes they give, but it’s often either grudgingly or in such a way that leaves you feeling indebted to them.
“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create.
Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.” – John Lennon
I am here to urge you to slow down and take care of YOU! If you don’t, who will?
The one person you will always be with is YOU – this is inevitable and how much better it is if you have a loving and nurturing relationship with yourself.
Please do what you love and whatever brings a smile and a deep sense of well-being.
Whether it’s a long, hot soak in the tub, or a walk in the park on a sunny day, or a healing massage, yoga, meditation class, art class, playing with your favourite pet, dancing, reiki, reading an uplifting book, lunch with a good friend, extra sleep, listening to your favourite music, having fun with your kids, whatever feels soothing and healing to you, do it!
And just a gentle reminder that daily exercise is essential; moving our bodies is crucial and keeping ourselves healthy is our first responsibility.
If we neglect ourselves, we cannot be there for others either. That is the truth of it, and we all know it. It’s a Work in Progress and the thing we cannot neglect!
I’m off to do my workout routine now!
Many loving people feel guilty about putting themselves first. They mistakenly believe this to be selfish. Can you run a car on an empty fuel tank? Can you withdraw from an empty bank account? If you give from a depleted place over and over again, what will happen to you in the long run?
– Ileana Rontea
“33 Loving Messages from Source”
Does any of the above resonate with you?
I offer a free half-hour video consultation or phone call so we can briefly determine if I am the right person
to guide you in this journey.
Email me at Ileana@PhoenixOnTheRise.com
This is a really important message Ileana and for me its realisation in the past year or so has changed my life and has given me a happiness I literally have never experienced before. I suddenly ‘got’ it and it has freed me, to be myself and to life my own life without feeling there is a gaping hole without a significant other. I am my own Valentine and it doesn’t feel remotely sad. It’s amazing.
So important this. For those of us of a certain age, these years are crucial in order for us to have a healthy, happy and independent “old age”.
I could not refrain from commenting. Well written.
I was able to find good information from your blog articles.
Excellent reading, it helped me a great deal as I start taking m first steps on learning how to truly love myself! it is never too late 🙂 Thanks Ileana for putting together this great articles, videos, groups and website