Self-Care Sunday: Your Own Worst Enemy
While I was making soap the other day, I was listening to my YouTube spiritual playlist and this song popped up. I had almost forgotten how wonderful it is (I love when that happens!). It really got me thinking about forgiveness, mainly because all week I have been beating myself up with how much I am behind in my work, soapmaking etc. I had been trying to get as much as I can possibly get done accomplished before the end of the week. But I was admittedly exhausted and took some much needed downtime so that I wouldn't burn out. Then I beat myself up for not being able to go full throttle. Here I am telling other people to rest, to take breaks, to not burn out, yet I still have the desire to work even when I can barely even stand. The song talks about even loving your enemies. Well what if that enemy was you? Why are we often our own worst enemies?
We have false expectations.
We expect ourselves to be superhuman, to work hard, to get the job done without complaining. But life happens and sometimes our bodies want a break or they will ultimately break down on us. We can't do it all, at least not without compromising our relationships with others and often our immune systems. Sometimes we set the highest standard for ourselves, not realizing that when we fail we have only disappointed ourselves, not the entire world, especially when we never revealed our standards anyway.
Being a human-doing instead of a human-being.
Every waking moment of our lives doesn't have to be spent actively engaged in something. We are not squandering our time on Earth by resting. In fact many spiritual paths emphasize rest and meditation. Spiritual leaders aren't too good to rest. Influential leaders aren't too good to rest. Why are we too good to rest? It's okay to just be sometimes. It's not lazy and it's not unproductive.
We don't forgive ourselves.
One of my favorite quotes is Anne Lamott's quote "Forgiveness is giving up all hope of having a better past." There can be an entire book written to unpack the complexity of this issue. We need to realize that it's okay that we didn't reach a goal, or if we did, but didn't accomplish what we set out to do. It's okay if we put our trust in someone who screwed us over. It's okay if we made a colossal financial mistake that we are still paying for. No matter how terrible it is, it happened. We cannot go back in change it. Wishing things were different will not change it. Beating yourself up will not change it. The only thing we can do is let go and move forward. Let go of the fact that no matter what we want to tell our younger/former selves, dwelling on the possibilities of what could have happened never changes what actually happened. You will drive yourself mad, into a depression, a dark place that may be hard to emerge from. We waste too much energy of mulling over things we can't change, rather than investing into the now and the future of the things we can.
How much of your exhaustion is just due to you beating yourself up? Sometimes we feel downtrodden and discouraged because we spend so much time breaking our own spirits. We indeed can be our own worst enemy. Before you forgive anyone else, have you taken time to forgive yourself?
The Body Buffet creates handmade artisan soap, shampoo, conditioners, spa bars, beard care, body wash and more for Baltimore, the DMV, and beyond. We have been creating conditioning skin-loving, hair-loving, since 2009. Visit our shop at www.thebodybuffet.com. Marquita Johl is the soaper-in-chief and a self-care advocate. She has been crafting soap for eleven years.