When I was a child I noticed how many adults would tell me things I should do and ways I should be, yet their behaviors often contradicted what they said. Many of the same people who preached "godliness" were abusive - mentally, emotionally and physically. I felt outraged about it!
At age 19, I looked around at all the pain and suffering I felt and saw in the world and wondered, what can be done? What can little me do? I am just a drop of water in the lake of humanity. How can I make a difference. I felt discouraged and depressed. Then an idea came to mind. What if I heal myself? What if I take care of my mind, emotions, body and spirit, and what if that rippled out to those around me; my family, my community and eventually the world?
I clung to that idea with grim determination and desperately hoped it would make a difference. For years I dedicated time and money to get all kinds therapy - for mental, emotional and physicals pains. I poured myself into exploring the deep, dark and scary corners of my inner world. Some people called me courageous. I felt it more as desperation because for me, it was do this or die because I refused to allow the abuse of my family lineage continue on through me.
What I found was that the more I prioritized my well-being, the better I treated myself and therefore everyone around me. Different family members became inspired by the changes they saw in me and, of their own accord, started making changes for themselves. My massage clients saw me and were inspired to make changes as well. For some it took years to make those supportive changes, but they did it!
I advocate for people to take excellent care of themselves; to prioritized their health and well-being, but if I don't do it myself, I am a damn liar! In the healthcare field I see so many practitioners burn out because they are so focused on taking care of other people no matter the cost, but they don't take care of themselves; they don't do the very things they are telling their clients and patients to do.
Ghandi says "Be the change you wish to see in the world", and I can't agree more. It is up to us. It is up to you to create a healthy world (if that is the world you want to live in) by taking care of yourself first! For this reason, I believe a culture of self-care can change the world.
Adinah Barlow has been a massage therapist since 2007 and Self-Care Coach since early 2017. She believes that when people prioritize their own well-being, everything else and everyone else in their life becomes exponentially better.