Self-care to self-growth

I watched Taylor’s (itsradishtime), video on YouTube about self-care vs Escapism. It made me reflect on my own behavior on this topic.

When ever I have my workout days, from the moment I wake up until I do the actual workout it’s present in the back of my mind, that I have to workout that day. It becomes a slight pressure and anxiety, because it’s a have-to kind of thing. Now this is where I struggle with what the difference is between self-care which would be letting myself enjoy the day and decide that I will workout during the evening without feeling guilt, anxiety or pressure or turning it to self-hatred. I wonder if I should be able to allow myself to do it later or if this is actually a kind of escapism, a form of procrastination and that’s the reason why I’m feel anxiety and pressure. I should just get the workout over with. So that as a reward and with a guilt free conscious I can continue to enjoy the rest of my day. No matter how much I don’t feel like working out in the morning, I know that I will feel good about having done it afterwards. It would fix the problem. So basically I knew the answer before I even started. I just didn’t want to acknowledge it. Wonderful. If I know what I need to do and it can  prevent anxiety from procrastination I should, just do it.

I think that I sometimes use self-hate as a form of self-punishment motivated by guilt and also as a form of justification. Because if I watch netflix and don’t get things done, feel guilty about it and add self-hatred; I am useless, not good enough, lazy. Then I define myself around those traits and it puts me in a state of even more apathy, it almost makes it okay not to get things done because, why even bother? I am lazy, useless etc. I reinforce the negative image of myself that then keeps me unproductive. Self-hatred instead of getting things done after not getting things done, which keeps me from getting things done. It’s silly, but this really happens.

I watched a talk by Carol Dweck on Growth vs fixed mindset and perfectionism. She explains that when you tie your accomplishments with self-worth/who you are you put yourself in a fixed mindset, in stagnation, it becomes a hindrance for self-growth. In a fixed mindset when you succeed you have to keep up the good performance to reinforce the positive self-image; I am good enough, I’m smart etc. Because if you fail your self-image gets shattered and you no longer can identify yourself to those traits. Whilst if you failed from the beginning you define yourself as a failure and stop applying effort because what’s the point; you’re not good enough, dumb etc.

My practice of self-care is to be kind to myself and to try and cultivate a growth mindset. I try my best to be aware of self-negativity when it happens and then discard it since it doesn’t do any good. It’s unconstructive criticism, that I simply have no use for. Instead I try to understand the reason behind it, why did it bubble up when it did, what is the negativity a reaction to? and how can I prevent it from arising or going too far. I think that Self-awareness, understanding how you work is one of the best tools for self-growth. I like the idea of treating yourself like you would treat a best friend, you would never say the cruel things that you tell yourself to your best friend, you would instead be accepting, understanding, supportive and encouraging. If you are your own worst critic be a constructive giving critic that leaves room for improvement and growth.

A growth-mindset is placing value in learning and growth. A failure does not make you a failure, a failure means that next time you try and apply more effort, have awareness of what you can improve on and learn from, moving forward on your growing curve. Who we are is not something constant or stagnant, we fluctuate, we change and we learn. New situations is what life consists of, big and small and how we act and react in them is a choice.

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Stepping out of my comfort zone

It’s one thing to enjoy comfort and solitude, to allow myself to be an observer from a safe and comfortable distance when I’m feeling unsure. But at some point the motivation behind staying in that space get’s muddled. Do I really enjoy it as much as I think I do, or is it simply to avoid feelings of discomfort, a motivation driven by fear.

A fear of failure, of not being good enough and having nothing of value to say. Most of the time I allow everyone else to speak before I do so that when it’s my turn to speak I end up with nothing to say. Being the quiet one nodding in agreement going “Yeah, what she said”. At some point I began to truly believe that I had nothing of substance to say. Simply because I never had the courage to take the first initiative to give voice to and speak of what was on my mind when there was something there. My behaviour and actions reinforced and validated the not-good-enough feeling which supported the distorted self-image I already had of myself, like a vicious cycle.

Like a kid watching the other kids play on the playground, “I feel perfectly fine here, on the park bench with my mom… just watching”. “I don’t even know how to play that game, I would probably do it all wrong and they’d laugh at me”.

This is something I’ve noticed I tend to do a lot, justifying or convincing myself of reasons why I don’t write, why I don’t participate or take risks. Giving up before I’ve even tried. Limiting myself from things I genuinely want to do. I need to remind myself that there is no right or wrong way to do this (except for grammar, I’m awful at grammar). For me writing is a way to try and figure things out, to get to know myself, explore, and get a better understanding of things. We are all alone in our subjective human experience and I think that it’s through writing and reading that we end up feeling less alone, we relate and connect, we expand a little. That’s why I’m here, on this platform. To stop hiding under my blanket. Instead I hope to create with this blog a kind of metaphorical blanket fort, a safe space and invite others to join me for some good conversation and thought exchange.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anaïs Nin

via Daily Prompt: Blanket