How do you treat yourself?
It is only after I write my posts that I really GET what they are about. Same goes with my books. When you’re writing intuitively, from the guts, it can be like moving through a dark wood, blindfolded – you can’t see where you are or why you’re there, you do it by feel, and it’s only when you emerge you find you have a couple of twigs stuck to you.
This post is those twigs!
So it all started with writing a post about how I have been eating gluten free and low sugar… really a telling-it-how-it-is post. Nothing particularly profound. Just giving a shout out that this is how it is for me. This is where I’m at… because I know a number of women who are there too… either knowing that they need to cut down/out wheat/ sugar… or have found it to be extremely helpful.
And then, as I start to publicise the post I realise what it’s REALLY about… I find a way to weave the threads further… I see the bigger picture, the logic.
Why the flip this can’t happen earlier in the process for me I’ll never know. I find it VERY frustrating. It’s only ever AFTER the post is posted… that I can begin to process it. And explain what the hell it was supposed to be about.
In a link to the post from The Happy Womb, I asked the question:
“How do you treat yourself?”
By which I meant initially “what do you do to treat yourself?” I then saw the connection between the strawberries in my sale advert. The blog post on cake. The fact that strawberries and cake are my ultimate way to treat myself. And books. I ALWAYS treat myself with books. And books were the purpose of the sale!
But then I saw the next layer to that question…
“How do you treat yourself?”… meaning how do you CARE for you?
And a third layer… how does WHAT you do to TREAT yourself actually act to take care of you?
This is BIG STUFF people.
Does what you do to celebrate things actually honour you? Does it honour your mind and body? Does it make you more abundant? Does it fill your soul as well as your head or belly?
So for example, cake has always been my treat of choice. The sugar gives me a lift. The wheat fills my belly. The fat makes me feel loved. The flavour tantilises my taste buds. The act of sharing it (yes, sometimes I DO share it, rather than wolfing it down by myself in the corner) adds communion to it.
But on another level the fat, sugar and wheat do NOT care for me.
Chocolate is another big one for women. A way of treating themselves… which leads to addiction, weight gain and sugar imbalances.
Or a drink or two of wine of an evening. Addiction… sugar imbalance…
For my kids it’s sweets – candies, lollies… call them what you will… at one stage they were wanting them every day… until of their own volition (STILL have no idea how it came about) they decided they’d have a Friday treat only. (They still have WAY more sugar than is good for them… but it was definitely a step in the right direction.)
Now let’s take a moment and get clear on a few things:
- I am NOT taking a moral stance on sugar.There are many who condemn it as a poison and a drug…
- I LOVE sugar. I love to bake, to make confectionary, desserts, cocktails…
- I am in no way a health freak… you can ask any of my friends and go through my kitchen cupboards.
- I am NOT trying to make you, or myself, or anyone feel GUILTY about it. Guilt doesn’t work. It just tends to bite your butt. I’m all for abundance and feasting and pleasure with food.
- I am simply reflecting, mindfully, on my experiences and experiments with cutting down wheat and sugar in my own diet… after spending YEARS resisting it.
They feel good in the moment, these treats, they are rewards for getting through a day, achieving something, surviving… but in truth they are escape mechanisms, allowing us an out… through our bodies sure… but a way of not being here any more. Because here is hard. It’s just we’re not supposed to feel that… so rather than dealing with overwhelm. Rather than acknowledging how hard we are finding life. We treat ourselves. We sweeten the experience.
Listen up… if you’re highly sensitive… if you have an addictive personality… if you self-medicate using food (*puts hand up*) then this is likely to be a major issue. Sweet pleasures to numb feelings and overwhelm. The first place I saw these connections made was on the Do It Yourself Health Blog – I highly recommend reading her post on high sensitivity and emotional eating.
Being sensitive also means we are far more connected to the sensations in our bodies. We FEEL so much more and our emotions effect us physically, particularly in our gut.
To protect ourselves we retreat into our minds, we distract ourselves with comforts, we try to blend in and deny our nature.
We tend to be indulgent with easy sweetness. With cheap treats. The treats that do not REALLY treat us.
Whilst at the same time thinking that the things that would TRULY nurture and nourish us are too expensive, too indulgent.
Treats used to be occasional… luxuries. But as life has gotten more complex and wearing on us mentally and emotionally… as we find ourselves giving more and more, becoming more overwhelmed… and treats have become more socially acceptable and affordable…we have become indulgent. We can counteract all the daily struggles, which take so much out of us ( and which we usually DENY are taking it out of us) by constantly rewarding ourselves. Like the reward charts that our children are bribed with at school… we’re doing the same with ourselves.
What about if you re-learned to treat yourself. In a way that brings you MORE into connection with your body, with your soul, with those around you… how would that look and feel?
We’re talking authentic treats. Abundance that really nourishes us on every level. Stop snacking on… or binging on artificial sweetness and cut yourself a slice of what you’re REALLY hungry for: connection, calm, physical pleasure, stillness, rest, authentic expression, time out, being held…You might find it in:
- an early night
- attending a women’s circle
- meditating in the morning
- saying NO to the next request coming your way, with a big open loving heart
- a fresh fruit salad in the sun
- a long walk by yourself
- sitting with your journal and a steaming cup of tea
- snuggling up in front of the fire
- a massage
- an orgasm
- a hot bath
- reading poems aloud
- dinner with a loved one
- an e-course that nourishes you
- buying/ reading a special book
- an hour creating
That thing that you don’t allow yourself. Can’t allow yourself… because it’s too indulgent… start with THAT. That thing you’ve been putting off, not getting round to. Especially if it doesn’t cost a thing. Start with giving yourself permission to want it. Because pleasure in our culture is often seen as frivolous. Sinful. Wasteful. Unnecessary. And we believe we are unworthy of it.
And so we deny ourselves the pleasure we long for… and fill ourselves with something else more acceptable to our culture.
You are worthy of pleasure. The pleasure you long for.
You are valuable. There is nothing to prove. You do not need to earn it.
Your pleasure is of vital importance for your well being … and the well being of the world. Truly.
You want to help the world? Help yourself first. You want to make others feel good? Start by making yourself feel good. And it will bubble over. Out into the world.
It is not negative indulgence. It is positive. It is essential.
So allow it. Then with permission to do it. And permission to ENJOY it. If it helps you absolutely have my permission to do it!
Treat yourself to some authentic sweetness. I dare you!