Self-Fulfillment and Self-Care is Self-Honoring, Not Selfish
As I get older, I reflect deeply upon how to take better care of me. To silence the inner voice that critiques my progress on a goal, deadline or achievement. Instead, I meet that small wounded part of me with love, acceptance and compassion and remind myself that I’m not a machine.
I grew up in a situation where shame was given anytime I laid still and rested. I was called “lazy” if I took a nap, or “selfish” when I put my wants and needs first. My attempts to adapt to an invalidating environment consistently placed me in a pattern of self disempowerment, and as a young adult, a constant search for perfectibility and certainty in my life.
However neither perfection nor certainty exist in this world, so my search was always in vain.
Fast forward to my early 20s as a single mother, the concept of self-care was completely alien to me. Abandoned by both my family and my daughter’s biological father, I ate whatever I could afford, and I put my needs last like all of the women in my family had. Still motivated by creating certainty and security, I also held the firm belief that the only way to be happy and to receive love and acceptance from others was to prove myself to be worthy and capable.
I wanted to show the world that not only could I be a great mother, I could also financially support us at the same time. Yet no matter what I did, nothing ever was good enough for the people I was trying to please, and I was always exhausted.
In my early 30s, I remember my therapist asking me, “So, if you bought your mother a house, do you think she would love you more?”. His line of questioning always bewildered me, activating my inner child's feelings of defectiveness, requiring me to instantly defend the truth of my reality. So I rewarded that therapist by refusing to see him, and I moved on with my life, never recognizing the deep connection between the source of that question, and my vulnerability to high-demand situations.
As I continued along my path as a wife and mother, my inability to defend boundaries around self-care eventually took a toll on my body. I became exhausted, depleted, and was eventually diagnosed with Graves Disease, an autoimmune condition which also threatened my eyesight. This was a huge wake-up call, as I finally realized that sacrificing my own care for others wasn’t a true or sustainable way to live. Constantly caring outwards was literally draining the life right out of me.
As my best friend told me at the time, “Andrea, you are literally killing yourself.”
In reality, without self-care I had very little of myself left to give to anyone else. In addition, my wounding pattern perpetuated a victim mentally that was modeled to me through my parents. I was repeatedly taught to sacrifice my own well-being and allow others to define my reality. It wasn’t until I learned how to heal myself from Graves Disease that I finally connected all the dots. Throughout that process, I had never been so cared for in my entire life.
Fast forward to a decade later of deepening my relationship with self-care, which has shown me a very different way to live, and I now know without a doubt that self-care can transform anyone’s life. Instead, it is actually selfish not to self-care. By taking responsibility for ourselves we are doing a great service and truly caring for everyone.
As a business owner working from home, I do have a tendency to over work, over give and over do, especially since my business is heart centered and I have a deep desire to serve. However I’ve learned to practice discernment. My boundaries have been set not to upset others, but to honor myself. Not everyone deserves access to me, especially those who take more than they give. Or those who have without conscience drained and hurt me time and time again. As a result of these changes, I now feel inspired. It now feels normal to make self-caring choices and honor myself.
Through expanding my relationship with my higher self and inner wisdom, I’ve also come to recognize that there is a strong link between setting boundaries around self-care, and developing your own intuitive abilities, which further motivates me to honor my commitment to self-fulfillment long term.
So if your boundaries are constantly being crossed, chances are you are also ignoring your intuition.
This shows up in your life as:
Turning a blind eye to things which make you uncomfortable.
Engaging with people in situations that you know drain your energy.
Saying yes when your intuition is screaming no.
People pleasing and avoiding upsetting others by staying silent even to your own detriment.
A word of advice? If you also want to develop your intuition, start by honoring yourself. Practice listening and responding. Trust your intuition and take action based upon its guidance.
I also invite you to begin noticing when you are people-pleasing, over-extending yourself, or trying to prove your worth or earn love. And take a moment to pause and remind yourself that you are already inherently worthy of being loved and valued just as you are. If they are unable to see your value and that you are worthy of love without you proving it to them, perhaps they aren’t meant for you.
The whole idea around personal or spiritual development revolves around building emotional resilience and healthy boundaries. That is something I am always working towards myself, and that is something I teach now.
People will still be overbearing with their expectations of you, however you can also remind yourself that you aren’t responsible for meeting their needs - they are.In discovering the truth about self-care and what it can bring to your life, you have nothing to lose but your exhaustion.
This piece was written and contributed by:
Soul Liberation & Embodiment
Andrea Firpo is a Psychic Cheerleader who is focused on soul liberation and embodiment. Combining her psychic and intuitive abilities with her educational background of trauma psychology, she connects women to their own inner wisdom and self-love. By bringing awareness in the body, mind, and spirit around the deep conditioning of emotional trauma, Andrea identifies underlying patterns that undermine her clients’ self-worth. Through simple yet powerful healing tools, Andrea empowers her clients to achieve energetic balance through healthy boundaries, promoting incredible paradigm shifts in their lives.
Andrea is also an author who has contributed to the anthologies, Dreamweavers, Ceremonies, and the recent #1 Amazon International Bestseller, The Art & Truth of Transformation for Women. As a show host and producer, she highlights the stories and lessons of remarkable women overcoming traumatic events in her podcast, "Brilliance through Resilience." She lives with her family in Portland, Oregon and works with clients internationally.