Something that I wanted to get you thinking about is how we’re often uncomfortable spending time with ourselves. Keeping busy is a very typical way to avoid spending time just ‘being’ (rather than ‘doing’). I see this a lot with my clients and I have to say that I’m just as guilty on occasion. Often there are fears of not being productive enough, fears of what we might have to face with regard our thoughts and feelings. Or even worse we might have to just ‘be’ with ourselves and given how most people feel about themselves (hint, not many people genuinely like themselves) who’d want to do that?
By keeping busy or ensuring we’re always in the company of other people, we don’t have to acknowledge these things. We can often tell ourselves that doing whatever or being with whoever is more important than having some time to ourselves, for any number of reasons. And there may well be a payoff in that we can put a few more ticks on our to-do list (so feel it was time well spent), or that we can massage our ego for some other reason.
Guilt-free time with yourself
Often there can be a feeling of guilt associated with having time to yourself. There really is no need to feel guilty about wanting some time to yourself. Or indeed taking some time for yourself (whether you want to or not). “I should be doing other things”, “I’m not worth it/important enough to dedicate time to myself”. These are stories we tell ourselves. Stories that simply aren’t true. We often have a different set of standards we measure ourselves by, compared to others. They are stories and standards we wouldn’t hold anybody else to. So why do we do it to ourselves?
We can go so far as to think we’re having some ‘me’ time but we self medicate to numb our feelings. So we don’t have to acknowledge them. We might binge or comfort eat, turn to booze or other recreational drugs, go a bit OTT with the retail therapy or spend the whole time lost in social media. This isn’t the kind of time with yourself I’d encourage in relation to personal growth and self-care.
By not spending time with ourselves however we’re doing ourselves a massive disservice
Firstly having some time for yourself, with yourself is a major form of self care. If you don’t take care of you, who will? It allows us to decompress and unwind. It’s really hard to get to know who you really are, if you never take the time to find out. You don’t get to listen to the feedback from your body and your inner knowing, which is all designed to help keep you in the flow of life as well as fit and healthy. By ignoring our thoughts and emotions we usually end up carrying them around with us needlessly, often for decades. By ignoring them or suppressing them we don’t have a particularly balanced/healthy relationship with them. This can often lead to other, seemingly unrelated, health issues.
If we’re able to develop a good relationship with our thinking mind and our emotions it puts us in a very strong position to influence how we think and feel in any situation. It helps us to lower our levels of stress and anxiety. We’d be in a much better position to recognise when we need some extra help or support to work through challenges. We’d also find it far easier to identify what skills would make the situation easier to deal with, so perhaps we could work on developing those too. Having a better understanding of ourselves gives us a much better understanding of others, making us more patient and compassionate.
There are no hard and fast rules about how to spend time with yourself
It could be spending time in nature, or with your pet, writing or some other form of creative expression. Having a bubble bath, going window shopping, exercising, vegging out on the sofa watching a funny movie, curling up with a good book and a cuppa… It’s whatever works for you at the time. Taking time for yourself gives you opportunities to do things that you really want to do. Things that make your heart sing and feed your soul.
These are very individual things. If you recognise that you’re worn out and tired, you can rest. Maybe there’s an area/topic you want to learn more about, so you can read, study or watch informative videos. If you know your body wants to move, get more active. It’s important to be honest with ourselves as to why we choose to spend our time that way though. Are we just trying to distract ourselves but dress it up as self care?
Maybe you want to use your time to further develop your relationship with yourself, your thoughts and emotions. In which case giving yourself Reiki or practising Mindfulness in your ‘me’ time would be super helpful. Reiki facilitates change and personal growth. Mindfulness helps us change our relationship with our thoughts and feelings. They both help us get to know ourselves on a much deeper level.
By spending more time with yourself you will come to know and accept yourself, for who you are
When you accept yourself you are no longer dependent on the acceptance of others. Ironically you’ll probably find that when you fully accept yourself, those around you will too. So you no longer have to try to be the person you think they want you to be.
Taking time for yourself has many benefits
You spending time with you, will keep your reserves topped up so you can give and do all the things you want for others. This is a win win, so definitely no need to feel guilty about it. Not doing this means your reserves will eventually dwindle and you won’t have the energy to give to anybody else. So nobody wins. If you’re more driven by a sense of achievement/productivity know that by taking time out for you, you multiply many times what you become capable of achieving. You learn to manage your energy, get to know yourself better as a person and so can grow into the best version of yourself. You’ll become more productive and develop better relationships with those around you.
Taking time for you, especially when you do things you love and take care of yourself will make you far happier. You’ll have more energy and become more emotionally robust. You’ll also become more productive. We tell ourselves stories to support how we’ve always done things. So it might take a while before you feel really comfortable taking some time for you. Remember though, making any kind of change is rarely comfortable. It’s when we’re uncomfortable that we can really grow. Why not aim to have more time with yourself on a regular basis. Schedule it into your diary. Remind yourself of all the benefits. I’d encourage you to not just get to know yourself but to make friends with yourself too. See what happens, you might be surprised.