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October 20, 2015

Believe Yourself: you are wise.

I assume that if you’re here that you believe in the necessity of self-care. I also hope that I’ve laid out the case for self-care that is custom, intuitive, feasible and kind.

That’s my baseline.

(If you’re unconvinced, please read my manifesto.)

With that as a starting point, I’m interested in what is working in folks’ self-care practices. I’m also interested in what isn’t working — what are the impediments to nurturing yourself? What is blocking your capacity for resilience?

The answer came back to me from a variety of sources and it was all a riff on one basic theme:

“I know what I need to do, I just don’t listen to my body when it give me messages.”

Whoa. This triggers the “intuitive” piece of the framework of custom, intuitive and feasible self-care. It’s obviously essential that when we receive messages about what we need that we listen. We need to create enough silence for that voice to be heard. And then we need to believe what that voice says.

Full disclosure: my self-care used to look a lot like self-punishment. It was a see-saw of doing the things I thought I “should” and overindulging in unhealthy things that I thought I “deserved.” It left me feeling terrible.

It took years for me to fully receive the messages my body was sending me. That it needed sleep and good food and movement. That it was worthy of loving attention, rather than criticism. When I started not just listen, but believe what it was saying, I was amazed.

It’s about credibility.

My body was right about so much. When I got quiet and tuned into my inner knowing, I had access to a wealth of information. It took some trial and error. I tried everything under the sun and had to find my way to what felt right for me. When I went against what I knew, I received that message loud and clear. It’s time to treat our inner knowing, our bodies, our hearts as credible sources of information.

We are the only experts in our own experience.

Only we can know what is right for ourselves. It doesn’t need to come from anyone else. This knowing doesn’t need any corroboration. If I feel it, if I know it, then I choose to believe.

Once I chose to practice this, I found that my intuition, rather than external sources, was actually my most credible source of information. I already had the answers of what I needed most to feel well. I could sense immediately whether something was “right” or true for me.

Self-care isn’t cookie-cutter. We can’t shape our practice based on a prescription. When we accept our own inner guidance, care can unfold in ways that feel nourishing and possible. We can feel truly supported and honored.

It all starts with respecting and believing that voice.

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