What does it look like to care for your past, present, and future self? Let’s take some time today to talk about really exploring the depths of self-care and what that means.
If you’ve been with me for a while, you know how I feel about self-care and how important it is in this world we live in. Before the pandemic, I felt like we were just starting to grasp the concept of self-care but after the pandemic, it really spawned us to look at self-care in a whole different way.
Self-care has so many depths in which we can take it to be able to really understand what it is and to go even further and explore what soul care is. For those of you who have taken part in any of my workshops, you know that I have a very different definition of self-care.
I believe that self-care is: Loving yourself enough to be able to love yourself enough.
When you take on that perspective of self-care, it really opens your world and prompts you to ask yourself, “How am I taking care of myself? How am I showing up for myself?”
Self-care will look different at different times depending on how you answer those questions. Sometimes, self-care is truly speaking our truth, accessing our power, and having those difficult conversations. Other times it’s doing something difficult. No matter what, self-care is truly caring for yourself, loving yourself to those depths, creating boundaries, and letting go of toxic relationships.
Let’s not forget the good stuff; bringing in the good and calling it into ourselves. Those are just some of the ways you can take care of yourself.
Expand Your View of Self-Care
So much of self-care talk focuses on the now, the reactive and external thing. We talk about how we react to things that are happening in our lives, things that don’t feel good. We fall into this mindset of “I gotta take care of myself, I gotta do self-care.” When we think this way, we often fall into this trap of focusing on external things that we are going to do versus internal things that need to happen.
When we start to expand upon the idea of what loving ourselves enough to love ourselves enough looks like, it can really blow it out of the water.
Loving Your Past Self
Have you ever thought about how you are caring for your past self? To start, ask yourself these questions:
What are some things in your past that are no longer serving you? What are you holding onto and carrying with you into your present?
What are some of the stories, the old stories that have been told to you that you’ve been conditioned to believe, that you continue to believe is true, but it is in fact not true? Can you take one of those false stories you believed to be true and let it go, once and for all?
For example…look at where there are traumas that you’ve experienced that you haven’t healed from yet. Trauma can be from two different sources: it can be things that we personally physically experience, whether that is big or little, and can also be generational traumas that we deal with.
As black women, oftentimes there are so many traumas that we have experienced in generations past - going back through slavery - that get passed down and we don’t even realize it. Those generational traumas can take on many forms and end up getting passed down over and over again. We hold onto trauma that isn’t even ours, trauma that we aren’t even aware of. Those traumas are asking to be healed. You can tell it needs to be healed because we become triggered so deeply by the things that are happening in our world – police brutality, injustice, privilege, and so forth.
I fundamentally believe part of the reason why this is so painful is not just because it is still happening, which is painful enough, but because it also triggers those generational traumas. Brutality and injustice have been happening to us for generations upon generations and is embedded so deep in us that when it happens in the present day, it becomes so triggering for all of us. Those are the things that are calling and asking to be healed.
When we look at caring for our past, we think the past is done. But it’s not! There is so much of our past that we carry that creates a barrier to being able to move forward in this world as a whole, healthy and complete person.
It is time for us to own those difficulties, the traumas, and the things of our past that we would rather leave behind. It is calling for us to heal it so that we can move forward. When you can work on those past traumas, you are working on a powerful form of internal self-care and things will start to look completely different.
Loving Your Present Self
When you show up in your present and move through the world taking care of your inner self, the present will start to transform itself. I won’t harp too much about present self-care because that’s what everybody talks about. We all look at how we care for ourselves in the present day.
I invite you to shift from looking at those external things and focus on what you should be doing internally. Ask yourself these questions:
What do you need to do internally with who you are to care for yourself?
How do you see and imbue yourself?
How do you love yourself?
Are you loving yourself enough?
When I stopped to think about that, years back, I realized the hard truth: I was not loving myself enough.
I realized I needed to start loving myself enough, to love and care for myself enough, to truly love myself, in every part of me. That is where the healing comes in. When I healed those traumas, I learned to love my traumas, I learned to love my ugly.
We all have some ugly sides that we’d rather push aside and pretend it doesn’t exist. What happens when we stop ignoring those faults and instead embrace them? What happens when you accept that they are a part of you and you get to love all of yourself, bring all of it in?
As moms, we love and embrace every aspect of our children and we try to do the same for our partners. We embrace all their good and their bad, but we fail to do that for ourselves. When we do that, it really starts shifting how we show up, and the things we say no to, because it does not reflect honoring and loving ourselves.
When you accept and embrace your flaws it empowers you to be able to say yes to things you felt unworthy of. You become more willing to take the risk, take the leap of faith, and do things that you’re truly called to do because you love yourself enough to do it.
You love your soul, and your soul is calling those things you are meant to bring into this world, to forget all of the things and people who may be hindering or trying to slow you down or dim your light.
When you can let that go, you start to honor your true self.
Loving Your Future Self
Your future self…who is that? What does your future self look and feel like?
You need to start thinking about and caring for your future self now. Honor her because she is within you right now. Ask yourself these questions:
How can you cultivate your future self?
Are you giving yourself permission to dream outside of your boundaries, to dream to have more than you’ve ever thought possible?
Are you loving that person?
Are you caring for that person? Or are you focusing on your limitations?
My invitation to you is to spend time caring for your potential. Spend time caring for not just who you were or who are you today, but who you can be, who you are going to be, and who you are called to be.
The only way we can enter our future and create that life is to start stepping into our future selves. So often, when we think about our potential, we look back and focus on where we’ve been, or we look around and see what’s around us. Stop that!
Those are fixed data points. It doesn’t make any sense to look at fixed points when you are thinking about a world of limitless possibilities. When you look back you are limited, but when you look forward you open yourself to the vastness of limitless potential.
What does that feel like? Let me tell you…when you are able to do that, that is when things get truly exciting and amazing! But honestly, it also a little bit scary. That’s because it’s a new way to think, a new conditioning.
We’ve been conditioned to focus on our limitations. Instead of continuing that path, we should instead condition ourselves to think about our expansions for our limitlessness. Ask yourself these questions:
What does it mean to care for that part of you?
How would you start showing up and caring for yourself?
What are the things you would start doing differently if you knew you could not fail? If you knew you had all the support that you needed?
How would you show up differently in the world then?
Even today, I still remind myself to take care of my past, present, and future self so that I can continue to make powerful shifts in my life. By continuing to care for my inner self, I can recognize the patterns in my life right now that are limiting me. With practice, I can shift what needs to be shifted and take care of my body and soul so that I can continue to grow and step into my future self.
I invite you to do the same.
Let me know your thoughts. What are you looking to do to start taking care of your past, present, and future self?
Sending all versions of you big love!