Since interviewing Marlee for this week's podcast, I've spent some time exploring her blog. I was really struck by how she has been able to invest in fully learning about herself during her journey to recovery. Marlee has just launched a series called 'On Self Care' that immediately spoke to me. Two prompts included in the first post triggered a lot of reflective time for me this weekend and I decided to open up a little about something I find hard to manage.
what does self-care mean to you?
try to write down all of the decisions you've made in a day-- which ones helped you thrive and which ones didn't?
- 'On Self Care' via Have Company
Self care is closely related to my crafting and it's noticeable that when I feel the most chaotic is when I've not carved out a little time for knitting. It's a tell tale sign of the lack of value I place on my own free time. I don't make allowances for errors and instead soldier on feeling like I just have to get through the next hurdle, the next and the next.
It's one of the reasons that I love co hosting the #wipsandblooms hashtag so much: so many beautiful pictures like this one by Pinneguri that offer a moment of calm. Scrolling back through these images shows a timeline about investing in a process with little blooms that naturally show the changing of seasons. It's been acting as a constant reminder to navigate hurdles with a gentler spirit and to invest in myself a little more.
When I look back over decisions that I've made in the past year that were not fruitful or in fact caused me the most harm, they almost certainly stemmed from my own insecurity. Unable to articulate my own anxieties or wracked with self doubt, I've turned down opportunities or withdrawn from relationships that I feared didn't have my best interests at heart. I have a tendency to run away when I lack confidence and in these circumstances I don't employ my usual strategy of 'always assume the best'. In an effort to make good, I will often over explain things and that's when things start to become a little strained.
This has led to rifts and strains in places that I once found friendship in this creative community. It can be an uglier side of our online lives that doesn't get talked about much and honestly causes me the most anxiety of all. There are emails and small snippets of conversation that I look back at with deep regret. I acted with honesty and a genuine heart but not always with insight. I have been truly sorry ever since.
Part of my self care has become about slowing down not just the pace of my life but the pace of my decision making. Sitting on things for a while often provides me with common sense answers to some of my worst fears. No, I will not fall down and fail if I try. No I will not offend others by choosing to support one particular project over another. No, I can't own a person's decision to not assume the best. There are some things that with time, you can learn to let go. If I had given myself more time in the past to account for my own self doubt, I feel confident that most misunderstandings wouldn't happen. Of course, there I go again, taking all blame and rooting all mistakes in my own actions. It's a daily occurrence that I'm learning to keep in check.
There's little that can be done about rifts I'm realising other than putting positive energy into healing when you can, letting time do it's thing and accepting that you got something wrong and now there are repercussions. That last one is something that I find the most challenging of all. My anxiety is constantly triggered by the feeling that I've let someone down, caused offence or upset someone in some form. Once anxiety kicks in, I fumble my words, make decisions that usually involve quick withdrawal and become hyper alert to any sign I was right to do so.
My decision to assume the best some months ago has served me well and really helped keep anxiety at a lower level. If an email can be read one of two ways, why not assume the most positive? Isn't life richer for doing so? I'm also making a concentrated effort to let people know that I think highly of them instead of assuming they don't care what I think. After all, who doesn't like to hear that something about what they're doing right now brings you joy? I know that we could all doing with hearing it from time to time.
I hope this coming week brings you happiness and a little time to create and reflect too xx