Shared: Self care isn’t selfish by Trait(s) Pour Trait(s)

Sharing this lovely piece by Trait(s) Pour Trait(s) because: 1) self-care is important for our wellbeing, 2) I love cats, and 3) furry therapy is also a part of self-care for me.

Self care isn’t selfish by Trait(s) Pour Trait(s) –


Thirteen Themes of Self-care – Self-care core principles

When you move into deeper levels of self-care you enter deeper levels of inner healing. As my own self-care journey has progressed I have come across several important recurring themes, so I thought I’d share the following tips to help you get started with identifying your own self-care core principles.

1) Find ways to engage in relaxation – Try to find a way to factor in whatever relaxes you on a regular basis. It helps to de-stress, gives you some time to take a breather, and adds something fulfilling and nurturing to your daily, weekly or monthly routine.

2) Reduce anything that isn’t contributing to overall wellbeing – Be honest with yourself. Whether it’s what you read or watch, people who leave you feeling drained, social media, activities you don’t enjoy anymore or junk food, try to cut it down or cut it out. Doing this leaves space for new things, pursuits or people to enter your life that add more benefit to your physical, mental and emotional state.

3) Work out what your values are – By working out your values you can start to identify where you’re not living in line with them, and can find ways to factor them in. When you go against your values because of ‘shoulds’, society, peers or others it can leave you feeling unfulfilled, stifled and drained. Finding ways to live by your values, and working them into your everyday life, helps you live a life more true to who you are.

4) Work out what your boundaries are – It’s okay to set boundaries! Part of being a considerate human being is compromise but there are times when you need to set firm boundaries for your own wellbeing. Working out what your boundaries are, and what constitutes a crossed boundary, helps you to stay more centred. It also means you have more confidence opening up to others without either shutting them out or letting them walk all over you. Identifying your values can also help to work out which kinds of people or situations you may need to use firmer boundaries with.

5) Identify mindsets that downplay your need for self-care – Certain mindsets either ignore the need for self-care or persuade you to keep putting it off. Unfortunately the result is that you then get to the stage where you have little choice other than enact self-care. Here are a few examples: the people pleaser, the workaholic, ‘soldier on’, ‘stiff upper lip’, pushing it all down, the busybody, the martyr, the saint, ‘keep busy’, ‘must be productive’, or ‘time off is for losers’. There are so many ways you can end up minimising your own need to take care of yourself. Recognising the mindsets that contribute to this mean you can be more aware, and you can then bring in self-care measures before you get to the flat battery, stressed or burnout stage.

6) Identify what is holding you back – What fears, beliefs or unhealed wounds from your past make you feel you can’t do what you want to do, be who you want to be or live the life you want to live? What (or who) perpetuates doubt in yourself and your ability to manifest the life you want to lead? What negative mindsets make you believe you’re not ‘enough’? Realising these are affecting you means you can start to address the negative impact they have on your life. You can then start to make changes that are more positive and beneficial.

7) Identify signs of overwhelm, overload or struggle – Being aware of the physical, mental and emotional manifestations of when you’re struggling, feeling overwhelmed or overloaded is a big help. It means that when these signals arise you can enact self-care before they take over completely. You will become more tuned in to your own needs and wellbeing, meaning you will know when to take that step back and implement self-care while things are more manageable. It also means you’re less likely to spiral or take it out on others unnecessarily.

8) Find ways to stay grounded and centered – Doing this gives you a certain amount of emotional, mental and energetic stability. It helps you to take a moment, when you feel triggered or things are starting to feel overwhelming, and take a breather to be able to come back to a calmer, more centred part of your Self. It helps you to feel things are less out of control and allows you to make decisions about the next step without resorting to a triggered reaction that may not be the best course to take. Finding ways to come back to your centre in moments of stress, struggle, overwhelm, strong emotions or pain can help to maintain a better overall balance.

9) Learn to prioritise – You can’t be all things to all people, and you can’t get an unrealistic amount of work done in an unrealistic amount of time. You can try to, but ultimately it leads you further from your own wellbeing. Factoring in others’ needs is an important part of being compassionate, but when it goes too far and you forget to also factor in enough of your own needs it leaves you with a deficit. Likewise, an unrealistic workload, to-do list or itinerary adds extra stress, can lead to feelings of inadequacy when you can’t do it all, and can become demoralising and draining. Learning to find a balance in these areas is very important, and it’s also important not to take too much on. You may be a super parent, partner or employee, and you may be super-efficient with the right workload for you, but you’re not Superman or Superwoman. Finding the right balance for you is crucial for self-care.

10) Work out what you want from life – What are your goals? What do you want to achieve? What sort of person do you want to be or become? Working out what you really want from life – beyond the superficial – can help you identify steps and ways to bring these things, or something similar, into your life. If you have worked out your values these can also help to show you what’s most important to you, and can help to make you more aware of goals or needs you haven’t recognised before. Learning about these things can help you to take the steps to implement changes in your own life, and perhaps even recognise the fact that you need to identify the steps to manifesting them in the first place. If you don’t know where you’re heading you can’t plan the journey. This helps you build up a road map to a more fulfilling life.

11) Find ways to build and maintain self-worth – This is a big one for a lot of people. It’s easy to think you have enough self-worth when things are going well, but when life throws a curve ball or you get hurt it’s common to feel low and to question or doubt whether you’re ‘enough’. Finding ways to build and maintain your own self-worth that don’t rely on outside influences or the approval of others is highly important. Doing things that make you feel good in yourself, doing things that reinforce your sense of worth in your own mind is vital. The support of others can help, but to create a more centred and lasting sense of worth you need to learn to find it within instead of searching for it outside of yourself.

12) Spend time in the right environment – We’ve all been there: the event where there’s an uncomfortable energy in the air, the meet-up or call from a friend that ends up as another moan-fest, feeling trapped in a relationship or job that ends up dragging you down… The right environment doesn’t just mean indoors or outdoors, it’s wherever you are spending your time. Whether it’s a place, situation, job or relationship, it’s an environment. Any of these are factors in your ability to self-care. Each provides a chance to be nurtured, nourished and content or, conversely, stifled, drained or discontented. Sometimes a bit of time away helps, but sometimes there’s a deeper issue that needs to be addressed. It doesn’t mean you have to completely cut out the things that aren’t nourishing, because you can try to address that relationship, or find a way to do something you love and enjoy to balance out and lessen the impact of a stifling or boring job. Whatever you do try to create a balanced environment – one that supports you – in all areas of your life.

13) Patience – All things happen in their own time, and accepting this can take away some of the stress you may feel when waiting for something. I left this one for last because change and implementing it can take time, and self-care is a journey and a process, not a destination. Be patient with yourself, your progress and the manifestation of change. Learning to let things flow and not trying to force them is self-care in action. Patience, and allowing things to happen when they happen, is a vital element of self-care.

I hope you’ve found these useful. I will add that I’m still very much on this journey myself, but having these as a reminder can be very helpful when we don’t know where to start, how to continue, or even when we’ve fallen off the self-care path temporarily.

(c) Michelle Gilberthorpe, She Holds The Bowl, 2018

Finding a balance with compromise

Compromising is a part of our daily lives. It’s a part of how we relate to others with care for their differences and needs. When in balance compromise aids our relationships with others and the world around us. It shows we are open and that we are willing to factor in their needs because we value them and their presence in our lives. Part of showing we are loving and considerate individuals is through compromise.

A healthy amount of compromise shows respect, but over-compromising ultimately reflects a lack of respect for ourselves. If we constantly over-compromise to please others we are not deeming our own needs important enough. Over time this can lead to burn-out because we are not feeding our own needs and tending to our own self-care enough. It’s like adding wood to everyone else’s fires to keep them warm and not saving enough logs for our own.
If we over-compromise to please others, because we don’t want to ‘upset’ them in some way, we are again neglecting our own need for self-care. We can become stifled and may even start to resent the person we over-compromise for. Over time it can lead to feeling trapped, or forgetting our own ‘spark’ and feeling drained.

Compromise is something to be considered carefully. In many ways it can build bridges and connections between people. In this way compromise can open up doors and opportunities we might not have otherwise. Over-comprise is when we put our own needs and values too far down the list and go against what’s right for us. In this way compromise closes us down and becomes restrictive.

Balance is key. Compromise is vital for navigating this world in a responsible and compassionate manner. BUT over-comprising is not being responsible and compassionate for ourselves and our own needs and values. We need a certain amount of compromise, but not when it means we stifle our own Truth of Self and our ability to self-care.

(c) Michelle Gilberthorpe, She Holds The Bowl, 2018

Shadow work – being willing to scrape the barrel

If we’re willing to really scrape the barrel and look at the dregs then Shadow work can open up whole new levels of realisation and understanding. In looking at the least palatable things we don’t want to see or own in ourselves sometimes we can gain crucial insight. This can allow us to finally free ourselves from deep-seated conditioning.
It’s not pretty, and its not fun, but it’s worthwhile when we finally feel that shift as we start to integrate and work with this new understanding.

Even the darkness can be beautiful. Claim it as your own, hold it close, give it the love it so desperately needs, and it might just reward you.

(c) Michelle Gilberthorpe, She Holds The Bowl, 2018

New Year inspiration: ‘You Can Choose’ by Rochelle Schieck, founder of Qoya

You can choose to say Yes.

You can choose love.

You can choose to stay in.

You can choose to go out.

You can choose to quit the job.

You can choose to stay in the job.

You can choose to complete a cycle.

You can choose to begin a new cycle.

You can choose a lot of things.

The most important thing is to consciously choose. 

– Rochelle Schieck, founder of Qoya (from the December newsletter)

Taking a break

Hello everyone. I will be taking a little break from She Holds The Bowl.
I feel the need to reassess what I would like the blog to be as I move forward. Writing here has been so beneficial for me, and has helped to keep self care and gratitude in my awareness. These things are still very important to me but I would like to step away for a little while and see what She Holds The Bowl holds for this next phase.
I’m not sure how long I will be ‘away’ for – perhaps only a week or two – but by doing so it will mean I can look at what I would like the blog to grow into. It also gives me more impetus to really look deep and self-care in the mean time.
I look forward to sharing new things with you soon,

Creating lasting change: break it down and INSPIRE!

When we feel overwhelmed by thing going on in the world it can be all too easy to feel like shutting it all out. This is where we face humanity’s Shadow and we have to decide if we’re going to step up to the plate and take action/ make a change, or if we’re just going to shut our eyes to it/ pretend it’s someone else’s problem/ hope for the best.
The Shadow is often made up of the most wounded, damaged or repressed parts of our psyche, but it can also help to make us aware of where our values lie by showing what we react to the most strongly.

Some of the biggest problems in our world persist because people don’t want to admit they exist, because they think it’s someone else’s ‘problem’, or because they can’t see the bigger picture. Another reason is that while the larger solution is identified it is impossible to implement on a one-person level. It can be all too easy to become dejected and feel like our efforts won’t make a difference when faced with this ‘bigger picture’ kind of view.
When you set goals you have the ‘bigger plan’ view, but you also have to break it down into smaller goals, steps or even micro-steps. One of the things I’ve had to learn through chronic illness is pacing. This means breaking down my goals into smaller and smaller, more manageable steps. Factoring in changes, setbacks and improvements is also important. Pacing, in this interpretation of the word, would be a perfect example to use for breaking down the ‘bigger plan’ view. You can’t implement it all at once, and it may mean delegating or getting help, or changing the plan as circumstances change, but it does progress. You have to allow for the ‘plan’ to evolve – like illnesses that fluctuate the ‘bigger picture’ is constantly shifting and changing. Sometimes there will be setbacks so you reassess and plan differently, or sometimes you’ll progress and can move on a couple of steps further. It’s all about being flexible and working with what already Is.

It’s similar when faced with the larger problems in society and the world – when faced with it all at once many people get overwhelmed; they throw their hands up and and they feel like there’s nothing they can do to make a difference. But if we look at things from the, “What CAN I do?” level then things start to shift. Now we’re in the one-person level of assessing; now we’re breaking the ‘bigger picture’ down into something more realistically achievable. On a one-person level we can identify micro-steps and -goals that can contribute to the bigger whole. And depending on our resources or skill set we can factor in what we CAN do. And the more people who do this, the more people taking micro-steps and coming together, is one bigger step on the path; one step closer to wider change.
Perhaps you have limited resources of your own but you’re great at organising events and can raise awareness or raise money. Perhaps you are an artist or photographer and can portray imagery that captures the mind and heart. Perhaps you’re a wordsmith who can help people see things differently and inspire them to be a part of the change. Maybe you’re a teacher and can educate the next generation on better ethics, responsibility and environmentalism. Maybe you can change to a more conscious way of living, or sponsor good causes or petition for change.
Whatever you do please try to inspire. Whether it’s leading by example, educating and raising awareness, helping people see, feel or think differently, make sure you inspire. Nothing turns people off quicker than feeling like they’re being lectured, being told they’re ‘wrong’ or inconsiderate, or made to feel like the problem is just too big or overwhelming for their contribution to make an actual difference. Inspire!
Facts have their place, but bombarding people with them doesn’t often elicit an inspired response. Outrage and anger are also not helpful as they only incite more negativity (see my post Reclaiming Sacred Anger – Leave Behind the Rage).

What people need, if enough are going to come together to bring about widespread change, is inspiration, motivation and encouragement. They need to know there are things they can do on a one-person level. They need to know that by doing these things they are doing good in the world. They need to see how, where and why they are helping. Spread the word, tell the hard stories, but do it so people are inspired and motivated, so they know there is something they can do. Show them what they can do. Show them what you do, give easy steps to start making changes; break it down for them.
Some may say this is spoon-feeding, but just as all children must learn to adapt and build up to bigger things so must we. Break it down, keep it simple and most of all, inspire. Inspire the change you want to see created in the world, and be a living example of it.

(c) Michelle Gilberthorpe, She Holds The Bowl, 2017

Our choices lead us to where we are now

Purple-blue nebula_01_our choices lead us

Our choices lead us to where we are now, and by taking responsibility for our emotions we can make better-informed decisions going forward. We understand that our actions lead us down the path we are on, and our reactions are also a choice. As we become more aware we make better choices for us, for our needs, for our wellbeing, for our boundaries and integrity.

(c) Michelle Gilberthorpe, She Holds The Bowl, 2017