How to move from self-sacrifice to self -care

We are being called forward, when we become parents, to heal.  It is our children who are our awakeners. It is because of them that you see yourself, with all of the wounds, clearly in the mirror for the first time.  It is hard to look at these wounds, but if we do not look at them then we are ignoring the self. Do not ignore the self.   See yourself, see your beauty, see your unique gifts and see that you are able to heal.

Whatever it is you need to go through in order to heal is not going to be scarier than what happened initially to cause the wounds in the first place. 

To heal we take a look inside of our self. There is nothing outside that will heal you.  You may find support to help you along the way, to help you help yourself, but the bottom line is that you must heal your heart and pain.  We must not be afraid to see it, hug it and love it. If our heart is in pain, then the work we have work to do is ours. The goal is to reconnect with your heart. And in doing so, you reconnect to yourself.

So how do we begin to heal and reconnect with our own heart? We do this by pausing, feeling, looking inside, honoring our pain body, as Eckhart Tolle says. We take time to see which part needs love, attention, compassion and forgiveness

In order to truly connect to another, we must first connect to our self.  How much of the day do we spend “doing?”   We do chores, run errands, do tasks, and do things for other people yet we do not take time to just be.

In order to connect to your heart, to stay connected and plugged in we must take time for self-care.  To spend time with yourself engaged in activities that light you up and refuel your tank when it gets empty.  We cannot connect to our children authentically and give them what they need if our tank is empty and we are first not giving to ourselves. 

I am going to focus on mother’s here for a moment, but this applies to everyone. There is a belief in society that taking care of yourself, especially as a mom, is selfish.  That somehow when mother’s self-sacrifice, it is exalted, and we say what a good mother she is.  She is always doing for the kids, PTA, scouts, bake sales, sports, etc. It has somehow been held up as an ideal- this kind of self-sacrifice.  However, did you know that the original meaning of the word sacrifice is to make sacred.  I wonder how this has become turned upside down.  Where and when did the mother get lost and left with no time to make herself sacred. 

Ask yourself, when was the last time that you stopped and checked in with you?  Pause here. Take a slow, deep breath. Check in for a moment with your heart, your passion, with what you care about deeply.  Do you set aside time for self-explorations and self-discovery?

When was the last time you connected to you?

When did you last sit down with a cup of tea, or coffee to journal and just write and let yourself explore the musings of your mind?  When was the last time you actually asked your body what she needed? And if you have, did you listen to her? If not, did you not stop until you were forced to because you became ill?

Women and mothers, in particular, are professionals at ignoring the self.  We push things under the rug that we don’t want to see, feel, acknowledge, know, admit to and experience.  We believe, “If I just push it away it won’t hurt me.”

The truth is, these silent hurts sneak up on you in other ways.

It shows up when your feelings get hurt, when you yell at your kids, when you procrastinate, when you don’t eat well, when you don’t move your body, or use your mind and ignore your own needs.

We are called into parenting, by our children, they are calling us to heal our wounds, our pain, our lack.  When we heal, we can then support them to thrive as their own independent being.

So how do we do this, you ask?  It all starts with you. 

We stop running from ourselves.  We stop ignoring our needs, health, time, self-care. 

Self-care does not mean massages and manicures.  Those are external. Self-care means taking care of the inside.  Self-care means exercise, connecting to nature and using your creativity. It means meditation, journaling, inner reflection and listening to what your body is telling you. 

All of our emotions are stored in our physical body.  We feel feelings inside but then we label them and they become emotions and emotions have stories and beliefs attached to them which keep us stuck.  For example, I get a feeling of shortness of breath under my rib cage. That is all it is, a feeling. But instead of letting it pass, as feelings do, I label it fear or anxiety, tell myself a story about it, and then I panic.  The goal is not to panic it is to just feel the feeling, it will pass. 

We must learn to pause, breathe, and allow.  You take time to meditate, journal, go for a walk and allow yourself to explore what is happening inside of you.  This is reconnecting. It also means unplugging from technology-which keeps us disconnected from our hearts and others.

Below are journal prompts to help you discover what is going on inside of you, to help identify the parts that need to heal, enabling you to make yourself sacred once again.

Journal Prompts:

Where in my body do I feel uncomfortable?

If I could draw a picture of it, what would it look like?

How big is it?

What color is it?

What physical organs is it affecting?

What is this discomfort communicating to me?

Have I felt this before? If yes, when? Why is it showing up again?

If no, why is it showing up now?

What younger part of me knows this feeling?

What is the story attached to this feeling?

What did the younger self come to believe because of this story?

How does this story show up in my life now?

Can my adult self now, understand why my younger self then, made up this story?

Can you see now that this story was made up in order to survive?

Are you able to forgive that younger self for the story, understanding she did the best she could do at that time with the resources she had available to her?

Tell the younger one what is the truth about who I am now and where I am in my life now?

Let her know you are excited to be connected to her once again.

Imagine sending your love out to her, from your heart, just like the love you send your child or another child in your life, and allow her to receive it and let her know the next time she feels upset you will be there for her, that she is safe, she survived.

As a result of connecting with this younger self you have allowed a part of you to heal.  You will continue to heal each and every time you meditate and tune in to the part of your body which is calling out to you. As a result of your healing you are more deeply connected to yourself, your essence and your truth. When you connect to your heart you make yourself sacred.

If you want to work with Janet, explore this more, and are ready to make yourself sacred once again reach out to her through her website

Creating Stillness in a Chaotic World

Do you ever have days in your life where the outside world is chaotic, busy, loud, overwhelming and feel you just want all the noise to stop. Times when you wish you were able to chill out even though the space around you is hyped up or loud. I know this happens for me quite often. At the beginning of the summer I was away on a trip to Nashville to celebrate milestone birthdays with my close friends, as we all had turned 50.  It was during this amazing trip that I learned I was able to be still within myself even if the outside world is loud, overwhelming, over stimulating and even boring.

My first experience was at a show at the Grand Ole Opry.  I wanted to be at the Opry, to have the experience, it was a wonderful night. As we sat at the show there were some acts that did not hold my interest.  People around me were loving it and singing along. I decided I needed to be still and do a little self care, yup, right there in my seat. So I closed my eyes and began to focus on my breath and I began to experience myself, my stillness, and I began to learn I can take care of my needs in the midst of chaos.  I learned that the world can move around me and I can stay safe within myself. I have the ability within me to allow everything else to be around me but not interfere with my inner world and experience of being calm, still and in tune.

I spent about 5-7 minutes there, within myself.   It was enough time for me to come back feeling energized and more interested in the show.  As I watched the rest of the show I also watched myself. I observed my energy and engagement with what was happening around me. I felt expansive and amazing.

A night or two later I found myself at another concert.  This time at the Bridgestone Arena. A major headliner was going to play and I was so excited because I love their music and had not seen them in concert for 20 years.  Well, needless to say, when they arrived on the stage and started to play I was disappointed. I was not enjoying the show and found myself wishing for it to be over quickly.  Once again I decided to go inward and focus on my breath. Now the energy at this concert was more intense, people were louder, the music was louder, the bass was booming. I decided to create a safe place for me, even in a concert like this. I did this by focusing on my breath and extending my energy field around my body.  I imagine my heart is a huge light and imagine the light surrounding my energy field. When I do this I am able to keep myself calm, safe and the outside energy off of me. This space I have just given myself becomes my meditation space within.

When I am in the space within I can tap into the expansive energy around me.   That meditative space within allows me to tap into the creative space of self expression.  I can then hear my higher self and listen to my truth. I know when I am touching my truth because in my truth I am totally calm.  So instead of wanting the concert to end, I wanted to just stay right where I was experiencing inner stillness, being intimately connected to myself.  Again, I learned that it is up to me to create my own safe space, my own peace, my own connection to my heart space, my own inner stillness and calm even in chaos.

We are the ones who must be responsible for our own self-love and self care.  This is the greatest gift you can give yourself. Without this gift we are always seeking that which is outside of us to fill the void, numb the pain, fix what is hurting us emotionally.  The love that you seek is the love that you are. You can not be fulfilled from the outside. There is not outside love that will be greater than the love that you can find for yourself, within yourself.   We have the wisdom within. We must sit. We must quiet the mind. We must listen to the inner knowing and wisdoms which we carry inside already. You can sit to listen to yourself at anytime even in chaos.  These wisdoms were born to us. We just were never taught how to access them.

The space between the breath is expansive.  The space may feel enormous and feel safe at the same time. Your whole body has the ability to feel completely at peace. This was just what I experienced as I meditated at the Grand Ole Opry and at Bridgestone Arena. I had the experience of not wanting to come back from the wonderful place of peace I was in.  I just wanted to stay there and enjoy the floating feeling of space. When I came back I was still able to hold on to the feelings. Give yourself the opportunity to practice being still in the chaos. Close your eyes, focus on your breath, imagine your heart is a spotlight of love and imagine it can surround you.  As it does, allow yourself to be held in the space of love and compassion you create for yourself. As this is the way back home to your true self.

If you are inspired by this and are ready to begin your journey, reach out to me. Private sessions are now available. or on my contact page of my website and we can set up time to connect.  Follow me on Instagram @janet_philbin_lcsw. I look forward to connecting and supporting you on your journey.

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CHAPTER 1: Conscious Relationship With Self


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