This guest blog is written by Jenilee Dowling, a trained (MSW) therapist and energy healer.
“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” –Oscar Wilde
A lot of us need a reason to prioritize caring for ourselves on more than just a basic level. We feel as though as long as we are doing the bare minimum for ourselves then we don’t need to go the extra mile and look into the ways we are not caring for ourselves. Caring for other people can be the biggest distraction from caring for ourselves. It’s easy to miss the fact that caring for ourselves is a form of caring for others. I can only speak from my own experience but I kind of feel like a superwoman when I get my basic needs met and put effort into caring for my mind, body and soul. There is a feeling of readiness and clarity, a feeling of rejuvenation that takes over. It’s at that point when I am at my best to then have a clear mind and enough energy to be of service to others.
There are many different ways you can care for yourself. There’s the obvious ones, like get enough sleep, eat a balanced meal plan, move your body in some way, take your vitamins, practice daily hygiene, get regular check-ups from your doctors. All of those are great; they contribute to the wellness of your body, but what about the wellness of your mind and soul? Self-reflection is something that many of us are uncomfortable with. Choosing to reflect on the emotions that come up throughout your day or the energy you feel when you are around certain people or in specific environments can be an incredible act of courage. It can be easy, especially in today’s hustle and bustle culture, to avoid or even ignore your emotions. You can even mask them with food, alcohol, drugs or toxic relationships as a form of escapism.
Some good indicators that you are need of some more self-reflection space in your life:
- Mental lethargy
- Incapable of inner stillness
- Unbalanced sex drive
- Emotional instability
- Feelings of isolation
- Oversensitive to criticism
- Need to be in control
- Low self-esteem
- Fears about betrayal
- Inability to express emotions
- Blocked creativity
- Obsessional thinking
If you identify with any of the above issues, you could definitely benefit from welcoming more self-reflection into your life. Self-reflection is a form of self-care. It is a form of caring for yourself so that you can go through life at your highest potential. It provides a level of self-awareness that supports our understanding of what we need to grow beyond this moment.
Taking the time to self-reflect is incredibly healing, and when we can heal the things that are blocking us from achieving our full potential in life, then we start to show up as our best selves — everyone benefits from that.
Some ways to invite more daily self-reflection into your life:
Feel your feelings. Express yourself through writing or any form of art. Giving your emotions a safe outlet for you to express them in is a great way to support mental and emotional wellness.
Look for the deeper meaning. Read what you wrote, examine the art you created — what does it say about your current emotional state? Use that information to seek out resources you need to heal that part of yourself.
Make “me time.” Create a morning and evening solitary ritual that supports you checking in with your intentions for the day and celebrating your daily successes.
Say good-bye to your “people pleaser” identity. Seriously take note of the presence of appeasement in your life. Are you always putting others wants and needs before your own? Are you presenting as yourself or as who others want you to be? It’s okay to want to please the people you care about but not at the expense of putting your own needs and desires aside.
Practice assertiveness. Don’t say “yes” when you mean “no.”
Take a salt bath instead of a shower 1-2x per week. Salt is a natural cleanser of negative, stagnant energy, plus sitting in a bath can really relax your body and create space for self-reflection. Light some candles, burn some incense, put on music without words. Exhale and reflect.
Do things that make you uncomfortable. The only way to to change your life and grow and evolve into your best self is to break the cycle and do something outside of what you typically do. Say yes to doing something that makes you nervous-break open the shell of protection that your ego has created for you and get important information about who you are and who you could become without your ego leading the way.
Get a therapist (if you don’t already have one). Commit to 1 hour per week where to you tell a stranger your deepest fears and feelings in a confidential, objective setting. Many people don’t have a therapist because they feel like they have plenty of people to ‘vent’ to. There’s something about having an outside person that’s primary job is to promote your personal growth. If you already have a therapist and you aren’t growing and feeling challenged in your sessions then look for a new one.
Get an energy healer (even if you don’t understand what they do). There are many forms of energy work but the primary function of energy work is to remove the energy around the feelings you are carrying that are keeping you stuck and unable to move on from the past. When you have energy work done, there is new space for you to self-reflect. You can become ready to deal with your current emotions because the ones from your past can finally be released. (Schedule a session with Jenilee on her website, readingsbyjenilee.com.)
Go outside. Find a spot in nature that makes you feel peace and go there often. You can even make a hobby out of exploring and finding new nature spots to explore in your area. This could be your space to journal or just think and feel your feelings and get some new perspective.
Move your body (and be intentional about it). Take the obligation out of exercise. Ask your body what it needs and do it. Release societal pressures about what you need to do to stay fit and have some fun. Some of my favorite ways to move my body are: dance, yoga, swimming, hiking and hoola-hooping. Check out Rochelle Schieck’s website and try Qoya as a new, empowering way to move your body and self-reflect.
Choose your friends wisely. Surround yourself with people that inspire and encourage you to self reflect. Don’t spend too much time around people that make you feel shameful about your feelings. Practice releasing judgements about yourself and others and develop relationships where everyone can have and speak their own truth in a supportive environment.
Set boundaries, then respect them. Your own self-reflection and self-care need to be your #1 priority. Setting boundaries is a means of protecting that to ensure that you have the time and space each day to take care of yourself so that you can show up to the rest of your life as your best self. Doing this sets an example for those around you to do the same for themselves so that they can also show up as their best self.
Ask for divine intervention. If you believe in a higher power in whatever form that may be — ask for that power to team up with you and guide you to a life where your own self-reflection and self-care are a priority in your life. If you don’t believe in a higher power, then ask your best self to guide you. They can be viewed as the same thing; as long as your ego is no longer leading you through life, you can become more self aware and your journey through life has the space to become more easeful.
About the Author
Jenilee Dowling is a trained (MSW) Therapist and Energy Healer who believes in creating and living your ideal life. Jenilee has dedicated the last decade of her life to her own self growth and spiritual journey resulting in her own business, Readings by Jenilee. Jenilee facilitates energy clearing sessions over Skype and FaceTime to those who want to rise to their true potential in life and somehow keep feeling stuck and blocked from reaching their full potential in their relationships, careers, and overall health and well being. Jenilee works with clients to identify potential blocks and clears them from their Soul Record with a technique called Spiritual Response Therapy, so that you can live your life fully and stop feeling stuck in the past. Read more about Jenilee and schedule an energy clearing session with her at readingsbyjenilee.com.