How to be there for yourself
How to be there for yourselfIn a world where relationships are challenged, chaos is constant and insecurity feels like an ever-present shroud of discomfort, we need to be there for ourselves more than ever before.  Yet, increasingly, I see that people rarely are.  And often don’t know how.  But it is so important for your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.  But what does it mean to be there for yourself?

Signs that you aren’t being there for yourself

How do you know if you aren’t being there for yourself?  It will appear differently in everyone and some examples follow.  Do you recognise any of these in yourself?:

  • Putting everybody else’s needs above your own
  • Exhausted from all the people-pleasing
  • Reassurance-seeking
  • Trying to fit in
  • Losing sight of your own likes and dislikes
  • Avoiding criticism
  • Fearing failure
  • Saying yes when you want to say no
  • Rescuing others from their stuff, while being mired in your own
  • Not feeling whole and looking for the missing part of you in others, or in substances, comfort-eating or other dysfunctional habits
  • Toxic comparisons
  • Self-criticism
  • Thinking that self-care is selfish or self-indulgent
  • Ask the clincher: would you treat a loved one like you treat yourself?

When you aren’t there for yourself you can feel disconnected.  This sets you up for loneliness and can, in turn, lead to depression.  It’s a spiral that is hard to escape.  And if you are there already, learning to be there for yourself is a way to bring yourself out.  When you don’t feel connected to yourself, how can you feel connected to others?  Simply put, you can’t.  It only happens fleetingly, conditionally, if at all.  Yet we can all seek connection like a lifebelt in a stormy sea.

How to be there for yourself in 10 simple steps

Here are 10 simple tips to help you be there in a more meaningful way for yourself:

  1. Know your needs, limits, likes and dislikes and respect them
  2. Ask for what you want, assertively and graciously
  3. Stop judging yourself; start supporting yourself
  4. Say what you mean and mean what you say kindly and respectfully
  5. Listen to your wise mind, not your fear or your insecurities. This is a biggie.  Why does it matter?  Because your fear, and your insecurities, will drive behaviour which is far more likely to create more disconnection from your true self.
  6. Understand that perfection is not a human condition: seek and celebrate progress instead.
  7. Under-promise and under-commit – give yourself some breathing space. And then breathe.
  8. When asked to do something you don’t want to do or don’t have the bandwidth for, say “I have a prior commitment”, which you do. To yourself.
  9. Do things that nourish your mind, body and soul: a rest; some yoga; a walk in nature; good nutrition; little things which bring you joy.  Your list will be specific to you.
  10. Have regular check-ins with yourself and ask “Am I honouring my needs?” or “What am I ignoring?” and then address the need.

Selfish or Self-Care?

Being there for yourself is not selfish – it’s self-care.  After all, you can’t be there for others if you are running on empty.  You matter too.  Being there for yourself will give you more energy, life becomes simpler and you have more zest for life.  And, as a consequence you will have more to give, so that everybody wins.

As Sarah Ban Breathnach said “We did not lose ourselves all at once.  But we recover our authentic selves one kind gesture at a time.”

Need more help?

If you still feel blocked, it’s really important to see a professional who can help you through.  Do feel free to get in touch.

Tricia Woolfrey

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(c) Tricia Woolfrey