Yesterday’s article started the conversation about Self Care, but it certainly didn’t cover everything there is to know. (I’m wondering; is there a topic that could be adequately addressed in a 750-word article?)
I had consciously worked to deal with my codependency issues for nearly two decades. Nothing I learned through counseling, pastoral care, CODA, Al-Anon, et al, had as immediate, profound, and lasting effect as my training with Coach for Life. It was there I was introduced to the deeper levels of self-care and began this journey toward proficiency.
The catastrophic effects of self-care began to show up immediately after I completed the first week of training. Friends started getting angry with me. Clients were frustrated. Colleagues began to distance themselves. Within two months, all except two friends in my social group had separated themselves from me. Business relationships had fallen apart. The majority of my family stopped talking to me.
At the time, it was incredibly catastrophic. I felt abandoned, alone, adrift, and beyond. I was happier inside than I had ever been in years, yet I was alone. The people I had known weren’t happy for me or with me.
The catastrophic result of self-care is that you will no longer interact with others as you have in the past, and they probably won’t like it.
The majority of people in my life fell into two categories, those who expected me to be a doormat and allow them to walk all over me without complaining, and those I complained with. Actually, I was beyond doormat. I allowed others to walk all over me, and then I would apologize for being in the way and get up to do more for them!
My life was filled with people who complained and would not tolerate boundaries. I put two major aspects of self-care in to place: focus on the positive, and, you guessed it, maintain healthy boundaries for myself.
I changed. The people around me didn’t. They pushed back. They tried to make me go back to being the old me. I no longer fit in their world. I made them uncomfortable. We no longer related. They didn’t like the changes I made, and I didn’t like that they stayed the same.
You see how beneficial it was for me that those people didn’t want to be in my life, don’t you? I can see it clearly now. Back then, I knew they were not healthy for me, AND, I was afraid I was going to be alone for the rest of my life.
Self-care can be a very lonely job.
Thankfully, this story has a very happy ending. Within a month of being abandoned by friends, family, clients, and colleagues, a new circle of friends began forming. These people talked about positive things, were making positive changes in their lives, were working toward positive goals, and making the world a better place to live.
I had a new circle of friends, a happier outlook, and a better life. I’d love to say the story ended there, but it didn’t; it wasn’t that simple. I kept growing until I outgrew the majority of people from that time of my life. Thankfully, several of them continued on the journey with me and we support each other in growth to this day. I also attracted a whole new circle of friends who are dedicated to continuous growth, learning, self-care, and all-around healthy living. My life is much more full and balanced.
It’s been a wonderful, sometimes incredibly scary, journey. There have been catastrophes and there will likely be more. In the words of the catastrophic Marilyn Monroe, “Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.”
I almost forgot to tell you! After 40 years of anger, my relationship with my mother healed before she passed away. My relationship with my birth son healed, too. The son I acquired through my second husband came back into my life. Family that was estranged long before I began my self-care journey chose to be both friends and family. This self-care stuff is powerful, in so many ways!
I’ll keep focusing on the better that is falling together because it is essential to my self-care. I’d love to read the results of your self-care journey here in the comments. Let’s keep things falling together, together!
“Self-Care as the Highest Form of Care” is this week’s featured class in the Wednesday Webinar Series. For more information, please see the Calendar.
First-time attendee discount! Use this link to take your first class at Half Price!