When it comes to taking care of ourselves, I’m so surprised sometimes at the stories I tell myself and what I believe self-care is…and sometimes it’s really just a band-aid. When we cut or scrape ourselves, the first thing we want to do is stop the pain and keep it from getting worse. So we clean the wound, we may apply an antiseptic ointment to keep it from getting infected, and then we apply a band-aid. Why? Because we don’t want anything to get in. But after a while, the wound can’t scab and fall off so that the skin can replenish because it isn’t getting any air – nothing is getting in. So then we have to take the band-aid off and let the wound breath and heal naturally. And in life, we also have to allow our feelings and wounds to come to the surface – so they can heal.
Think about when you have a stressful day. Sometimes instead of listening to what our body needs or what would really help us to process the difficult feeling we’re having, we’ll go into automatic mode and – go clubbing and drinking so we don’t have to deal with it, shop and spend to help ourselves feel better, or even pour out our hearts (with the best of intentions) to people who aren’t really able to give us the support we need, watch tons of TV, or even cut ourselves off from friends and family who may be very supportive. There are so many different ways that we all numb, and there is no judgement in any of them.
Clubbing is not necessarily bad, drinking is not necessarily bad, shopping is not necessarily bad, talking with people isn’t necessarily bad – it isn’t bad or good. But using these things as a band-aid from dealing with life can sometimes keep us in a place of recreating the same mistakes. It can keep us from doing our work to evolve and grow. If we can’t see the wound, then we can’t do what needs to be done to let it heal. And in some cases, our wounds get worse.
Where if we let ourselves take care of emotions and pain, let ourselves grow through discomfort, let ourselves feel – then we’d be able to make more accurate choices on how to take care of our needs. We’d be able to say that doesn’t feel good and I need to change this. This wound needs air. This wound is ready to heal.
In looking at this from a place of non-judgement, because we all have “band-aids” that we use to keep us numb to our real feelings as a protection mechanism, what are some “band-aids” that you use that aren’t serving you? How could you honor and take care of yourself by listening to what you really need?
And yes, it can be painful at times. When you put a band-aid on, sometimes it can be pretty adhesive. You may go to take it off and find that it’s so painful, that you’d much rather leave it on. But just being curious about what works for you – whether you take the band-aid off slowly or rip it off quickly – it’s all just a matter of figuring out what makes you most comfortable in the process of allowing yourself to heal and grow and practice self-love.