Self-care is a term that popped up when I started my journey into the inner world. The depth of understanding this terms changes with time.

In the early days, it was a reminder to go for facial and/or massage, as that is as much self-care routine I have power over during that period of time. Years later, it delved a little deeper and became a matter of finding time to do what I love. Self-care was then about liberation from work life, by being fully immersed in oil painting for a pure three hours of loving every week. With the crazy flying schedule I had, its definition started to revolve around my dietary needs and getting enough sleep. At times, self-care comes to be about getting some timeout for meditation.

In the past year (thanks to Covid-19), self-care turned very much inwards beyond the physical / bodily self (I had all the time in the world to do the abovementioned – facial, painting, meditation, sleep, proper feeds). I learnt that people (you, me, everyone) project our shadow onto others; and being aware of that, we can mindfully withdraw our projections on others. Conversely, we have to understand that people are projecting their shadow on us, which we do not have to accept (we can discern).

“The best political, social, and spiritual work we can do is to withdraw the projection of our shadow onto others.”

~ Carl G. Jung

Having 24/7 spent with the same people, friction started to lead to questions. I started examining this idea of self-care more from the point of view of boundaries. Self-care is about setting out clear and healthy boundaries, so that we are not overly sucked into others’ perspectives, ideas, and expectations, of us. It was a rough time, as family time had melded into work hours and vice-versa. It took a while to establish, communicate and adhere to the newly needed boundaries. Trial and error, tiring as they may be, but things fell in place in this long span of almost a year of WFH (working from home).

Post-WFH, and as I started meeting up with people again, my latest epiphany about self-care is drawing up boundaries to keep certain extraneous people and conversations at bay. There are friends or maybe more of acquaintances, who seem to feel they can run our lives. People who love to offer unsolicited advice and opinions. Do not be misled!

“Kind advice” does not justify a person overstepping into our personal space to throw their two-cents worth of their own fears and failures.

It may be out of kindness, but it is not always useful nor helpful because they are not us, they do not know the ins and outs and nuts and bolts of what is going on in our lives. Neither are we obliged to tell them.

When it is just too much to handle, know that it is okay to say, “No, thank you, I can only deal with myself at the moment”. There are times when people do not know their place, it is important to communicate the lines to them for which they shall not cross. Yet too, there are daft people out there who cannot get hints, no matter how politely you try to tell them the “no, thank you” in subtle or in obvious terms. Take that as a learning of whom you let into your inner circle, and certainly whom you have to keep them very much at arm’s length. 

Be thankful too, for the people in your life who are adult enough to clearly understand boundaries, people whom you can be immersed in their care and concern, yet comfortable enough to give space when you need to. Gratitude sends out subconscious energetic fields to attract the kind of dynamics that you can be in harmony with. I am very grateful for all my mature, sensible, considerate, and authentically loving friends!

So there, self-care. To be in a healthy mental state, we need healthy boundaries.

Know your worth, know your Self. You are fully deserving of your own personal space, free of other humans’ projections.

Thank you to dietmaha for the background image 

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