Updated: Sep 22
What were you taught growing up? I'm sure it will depend on the decade you were born in. This didn't always mean your parents told you what to think or how to act. Maybe you just saw what they did and learned to mimic that as your own behaviour.
There are so many beliefs about the right and wrong way to do things that it's no wonder there are so many opinions out there today.
The biggest realization I have come to as a mum, was that I was not only mimicking the actions of my mum, but also following the advice from my dad about putting others (or serving others) before myself. This led to a life of people pleasing and anxiety if I got it wrong. What I didn't realise all those years was, I was trying to fill other people's emotional tanks when I had nothing left in mine. I didn't have that hair cut because the family might need something, I didn't go out on coffee dates because of the guilt that I should be at home doing housework or studying or working. There was no time for me, too many other things had to be done. THIS was my subconscious belief system at work! If you already know self care is essential, fantastic. If like me you felt guilt for doing something for you, read on.
What we need to understand is that we can't give 100% to the people we love unless our tank is full. Sure you can give your loved ones cuddles, cook tea, go to work only to have to please your boss, coworkers or customers and then go home and start all over again resulting in exhaustion at the end of the day.
When you take time out for yourself you can fill your own tank, you don't need others to do it for you because who knows, maybe their tank is low too. When you're happy, your energy is infectious. But there are a few extra steps you can take to keep your tank full, let's dig deeper:
Look at the reason your tank is empty. At first glance it might be because your work/children/family are demanding. The deeper issue is not outside of you, it's your belief around it. What are they and are they true?
Become aware of your thoughts. When we get stuck in a negative thinking pattern we can create a mirror like effect in our environment. Think about the mornings you got up grumpy - how did your day go? As opposed to waking up full of energy? Look at your mood and gauge how you see people you interact with. It can give you an indication of where your thoughts are at.
When we have high expectations either from ourselves or others and the results don't come through, we've set ourselves up for disappointment. Yes you CAN release high expectations - if you believe you can't, refer back to number 1 beliefs, what are they? (And YES you are good enough!)
Sometimes being in control makes us feel safe but in reality we can't control everything. For example other people's feelings and actions or the outcomes of everyday life situations. Trying to control everything can become exhausting, the opposite of a full tank. So guess what? People are going to do what they do and say what they say determined by their belief systems and life's experiences. What you can control are your thoughts and reactions to them. A lot of the time the words and actions of others are a reflection of what's going on for them. It can't be about us, it's just a belief that that person has about the way they "expect" things should be done that is being reflected on us. Therefore, our self worth can now stay in tact.
Filling your tank is your responsibility no one elses. What I mean by this is our happiness should not be dependent on others actions or words. Happiness is an inside job. Though, I'm all for receiving kindness and love that is freely given! However, no one can change how you view your world but you. And finally...
Comes in many forms but we need to look at all areas. Body, mind and spirit. Spending too much time ruminating over past experiences can lead to depression. Always looking forward to the unknown can lead to anxiety. Learning to be present in everything you do will help dissolve those things. And, self care doesn't have to cost money.
Getting out in nature is a fantastic way to ground yourself and it's a form of meditation.
Having a long soak in the bath
Spending a day having fun with no housework / with loved ones
Drink plenty of water
Eat a nourishing meal
Gratitude for what you have...
As a fast paced society we are living in a state of mindlessness, meaning we're always looking at the next thing that needs to be done, we're not living right here right now. Right here, right now is where we fill our tanks. Becoming aware of why your tank is empty is a great first step to filling it up. Sometimes we just need a hug or a kind word. Sometimes we just need a quiet space or friends around us.
But always remember that to fill your tank, you first have to understand why it's empty.