On your Own
I am unapologetically saying this.
I am my first priority and this is straight-up non-negotiable. My time is my time.
Do you prioritize yourself?
I do, it has saved and rescued me. It is a journey of coming home where I am the journey and I am the destination. I am.
What I feel when I come home to myself is, as Wordsworth penned, “the bliss of solitude.” You are not your occupation. You are not just a student. If you’re not cast as a mother, wife, or daughter, who would you be? Who are you when stripped off of the roles you play?
Prioritizing oneself is taking care of and knowing oneself. It is recognizing and acknowledging your needs. It is observing and choosing your preferences; your likes and dislikes, which can be grey, not just black and white, also vivid and dynamic.
As Rainer Maria Rilke said, “We are solitary. We can delude ourselves about this and act as if it were not true. That is all.” For me, the need to prioritize myself stemmed from a low phase, finally realizing that I’m all I really have. Ahoy there aloft, this is actually liberating. It is liberating to know that I’ve been with me through thick and thin, through all of my days, that I’m enough, a thousand times enough. You were with you, unconditionally. With this, I recognized myself. This shift inward was empowering because now, I know I am in control of my responses in any situation. Do not take your being for granted. I did feel guilty for making myself feel unseen and unimportant for so long in the past but this cognizance set me free. For the first time, I came to light in my own sight. This unconscious movement ingrained like a default mode running in auto-pilot is how most of us operate, every single day. The first stride towards and for yourself is made with taking time out for yourself.
Gradually, it takes the form of respecting yourself and having a sense of security in your own company. When you believe in yourself, you live to fight another day come what may. It is a process of discovering as you do. It is being confident in walking your talk, whatever it may be. It is being comfortable in your own skin. Oh! more often than not, be ready to be surprised. Thyself is the beginning of your sass.
“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.”
Why tend to Oneself?
Hey, if you don’t feel happy, restored, and fulfilled, then how in-the-world are you going to help and serve others? When we neglect our needs, we nurture a negative spiral of self-esteem, unhealthy emotions like resentment, and perpetual pain.
Self-care is essential to one’s wellbeing, both psychologically and physiologically. It helps us in better recognition of our emotional and mental thought processes. It has shown to positively affect self-awareness and self-improvement. It is not a remedy to mental ailments but it does aid you in dealing with them effectively. Let alone selfless service, measurable productivity takes a dip when you’re burdened with the stress of others’ expectations. Being with the Self helps you find comfort in nothingness, thereby filling you with gratitude.
It is not a selfish act. In fact, self-consciousness helps in identifying ego-centric behavior and mindless chatter. Coming home to yourself is grounding, it is a reminder that you’re only a man, that you are dust. And unto dust, you shall return, memento homo.
Anything works when you’re working with yourself, believe that your mind and body are with you in this process. Self-care is laborious. It takes time and effort but it sure is worth the hustle. This is your healing, in baby steps.
Make and treasure your “Me-time.” You can do anything you please. Read a book or recite poetry, listen to music or sing, cook a meal or dine out with yourself, observe in silence, be still and meditate, or all of this in routined rotation, one at a time. I take myself out to movies, lunches, and walks solo. I enjoy lacing my shoes in different styles. Do your jam.
But hey, self-care is not just doing things, or some fancy indulgence. Sometimes you’ve got to just be. Sometimes you’ve got to say no. It’s about becoming more of you, and less of them. You are not others’ perception of who you are, you are more. Sometimes it’s about letting go as Khushwant Singh beautifully said, “..accepted her seclusion with resignation.”
To wrap it up, don’t be too hard on yourself. Play your game, on your own. Let there be grey, and explore with curiosity the wonders of your being. There is no right way. You are forever evolving.
“The most painful thing is losing yourself in the process of loving someone too much, and forgetting that you are special too.”
~ Ernest Hemingway
- The Greatest Showman directed by Michael Gracey
- The Pursuit of Happyness directed by Gabriele Muccino