You, your family and self-care

Developing a way to personally attend to our needs through self-care is something that can take time, especially if it is not something that is consciously practised as a daily way of life. However, after some dedicated application, new rhythms and rituals can become our new normal.

For example, considering what to wear for the day, such as the type of fabric, the colour, will I be warm enough? What specific shoes will support my feet, how will this feel for what I will be doing during the day? These are examples of nurturing choices that can deepen the way we care for ourselves on a daily basis. These habits can build in every area of our lives, and slowly over time our life becomes more purposeful because of the love we now have for ourselves. That is, until family comes along…

You know those times, Christmas, weddings, birthdays, even funerals, in fact anytime your close or extended family comes together. Those unresolved tensions and aggravations between certain family members can be one of the quickest ways to trigger us to drop our foundation of self-care and have us pushing past others to grab for the chocolate or wine as our newfound priority. You were doing so well and you were feeling great, now your mind and body is filled with angst and negativity and all those good intentions go flying out the window with last week’s pay.

For many years I would always feel tension in my body days before a family event. I became stressed and moody and because of this I felt as though something was wrong with me. After all, I was supposed to be looking forward to seeing them, right? I would push this tension down and get dressed in my best clothes and makeup to look the part whilst I felt the horrible dread inside. This, unfortunately, was the energy I met my family in. No matter how good I looked or whether I did all the right things to fit in, the feeling that I had to perform a role seeped through. I ended up not being myself and would walk away resenting them.

What I was really resenting is what I felt I should be, rather than just being myself and ignoring what I felt was true for me. I was squashing myself into an ideal and was furious when it was rejected . . . when they appeared to not like me or agree with me. This would end in days of my ruminating in this toxic emotion as I projected my disgust and anger onto certain family members.

What exactly is it that takes us out of our centre during those times?

Why, in certain situations, can we hold ourselves and in other situations we are scraping ourselves up off the floor after collapsing into a heap and feeling we’ve been taken out for the next few days?

Family, and how we are taught to behave within one, can cause us to give our truth and power away in favour of being nice… such as being the good daughter, wife, grandmother, son, father, etc.

There are unspoken rules and codes of conduct that have us holding back what it is we feel to express, leaving us feeling resentful and angry at ourselves and others.

Something we could easily say to a friend is now impossible and against the rules to say to your father, grandmother, aunt or brother. We feel inhibited and blocked from being who we truly are. No wonder we are all dying for these events to be over so we can go home! I’m not suggesting you unleash the machine gun and express without care or concern, but to see that when we hold back and fit into a mould we are also holding back the incredible love.

We are born into a world that falsely puts the members of our families into a special category, making them more worthy of our love and care than other people. On the flip side, because they are ‘special’ it is expected that we put up with a level of disregard and abuse we would never accept from someone outside the family. The family consciousness is heavy. If we do not understand what is truly at play, we are left feeling guilty and plagued with self-doubt. Expressing our truth and saying no to abuse can be seen as if we have stepped out of line in some way. Without a good level of honesty and self-reflection we are unaware of what we are unwittingly feeding in our reactions, leaving families a breeding ground for drama and unresolved issues that fester, sometimes for decades.

It is deeply self-caring to be who we truly are in all situations, not only towards ourselves but to all others we come into contact with.

Understandably, this is more easily said than done, but when we give ourselves the opportunity to honestly look at our own attachments and expectations in these situations, we can see where we get caught and how we are feeding the very game we hate being part of.

By being an altered version of our true selves, it is an easy opening for us to be fed thoughts and feelings that are designed to infect us and our relationships as a result.

Understanding this, it is a great and joyful responsibility to present who we truly are and see that everyone deserves all our love all of the time. With that, we can reflect to others that there is another way and that the greatest form of love we can offer another is being no less than who we are in all circumstances.

“The faces we wear are the many different ways we have developed to be and to comply with a situation at hand – we become very good at it, very good at handling situations, but that has nothing to do with who we truly are”

Serge Benhayon Esoteric Teachings & Revelations Volume I, ed 1, p181

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  • By Kate Chorley

  • Photography: Dean Whitling, Brisbane based photographer and film maker of 13 years.

    Dean shoots photos and videos for corporate portraits, architecture, products, events, marketing material, advertising & website content. Dean's philosophy - create photos and videos that have magic about them.