“She had not known the weight until she felt the freedom.” ~Nathaniel Hawthorne
Stress and anxiety can affect our lives in so many different ways. A few years ago, it manifested itself in me physically, in a pretty gross way.
There was a time I had a plantar wart on the bottom of my left foot, and it was very painful. When the pain got to the point that I couldn’t walk normally, I went to the dermatologist to get it burned off.
I did this repeatedly for months on end, as it kept coming back. The wart was so sore that I walked differently, causing my knees to swell and my hips to become inflamed. This whole time, I didn’t think of myself as sick and needing to heal. I just took it. In both mind and body, I surrendered to the wart.
In the meantime, I would always talk about how blessed I was to be so healthy.
I mean, a wart doesn’t count, right?
Then, it dawned on me. This was a question of deserving. Since I “wasn’t sick” I didn’t deserve sympathy for my pain, I didn’t deserve help around the house while I healed, nor did I deserve to stop doing everything for everyone else so I could focus on getting myself better. If I didn’t deserve to heal, did that mean I deserved to have the wart?
This was crazy! I sat down in meditation and asked my inner wisdom what having this wart meant. It told me that I walked around all day serving everybody else, but I had to take care of myself, too.
The wart was trying to get me to stop being everybody’s maid, waitress, nurse, teacher, and office manager by making it too painful to walk.
I was so ready to get rid of the wart that I listened. My inner dialogue became more soothing. Again, in meditation, I told myself silently that I was committed to taking care of me. I stuck to that commitment by delegating chores, making plans with girlfriends, and going to bed earlier. After two weeks of this, the wart was completely gone.
The first step in addressing this “not-deserving wall” was to show myself some compassion—to give myself some understanding for the pain and suffering I experienced. This meant that instead of judging myself for being weak and stupid, I could acknowledge myself by saying, “I get it.”
What an incredible relief this was to my psyche!
Saying, “I get it,” changes the game. We’re validated and can lay down the cross (the “negative self-judgment”) and rest. Then, we can get up and—with that more loving relationship with ourselves—start to get better faster.
I realized that suffering was suffering. No one, not even me, deserved to suffer. And everyone, even me, deserved help to get rid of it. So I practiced being easier on myself, stopped beating myself up about my anxiety, and I looked to my inner wisdom for help.
This self-compassion helped me to like and trust myself and begin to see glimpses of the good skills I used to cope with life. Quickly, I felt less vulnerable and more empowered to make the change I so desired—to get better.
So, back to the questions at the beginning of this article…
Why do we stress ourselves out? Why is it that being productive and getting tasks done is more important than healing and taking the time to feel calm?
The answer? Because healing isn’t tangible. You can’t check it off a list. It takes time and commitment.
The next step was realizing that in order to make my healing a priority, I needed one very important thing: respite.
Respite became part of my day. I transformed a corner of my home into a sacred place of contemplation, and I decided to spend time there everyday to breathe, meditate, and pray. In addition to taking time for stillness, I added a walk into my daily schedule to move my body and get out of my head.
I also started going on retreats. This was an incredible source of solace for me. It allowed me to take a break from my usual daily grind and focus solely on myself and my healing. The memories I cultivated from these retreats have become touchstones for me when my life starts to get chaotic.
We deserve to chill. We deserve to take a break from our lives. We deserve to heal. We deserve respite.
Here is your invitation to chill. I hope you accept.
You are cordially invited to heal from past and present hurts.
You are invited to let go of worries, because you now know that you can handle whatever comes your way. You can gain confidence in your skills in managing yourself and you can be proud of your response.
You are respectfully invited to connect with people. See relationships and situations from the big picture where things are not so personal, and not as “against you” as you thought. You see that everyone is going through their own stuff.
You are invited to stop taking yourself so seriously. Ease up. Relax.
I invite you to breathe easy since no matter what situation you are in, you are not alone.
I invite you to have more fun, more silliness, more love.
Humans have at least eighteen distinct types of smiles. I invite you to use one.
I invite you to share. Do you need more time to just chill?
About Jodi Aman
Jodi Aman is a YouTuber, psychotherapist, and author of You 1 Anxiety O: Win you life back from fear and panic. Feeling anxious? Tell her what’s wrong and get tips on how to feel better: Anxiety Test.
The post You Deserve to Chill: How to Create Space to Heal and De-stress appeared first on Tiny Buddha.