The Circle of Happiness or Why Self-Care is an Obligation

“When are you going to honour yourself?” During my morning meditation on my 31st birthday it comes crashing down on me.

My construct of negative thoughts can’t sustain itself anymore.

Like an avalanche boulders of anxiety, self-doubt, misgiving and hesitation fall off my back. Lightness captures my whole body.

My energy level rises headspinningly quick.

The ‘doer’ is taking over. There is only flow – no fighting, no dispute. The imprisonment is over. Finally the refreshing breeze of freedom is rejuvenating my senses.  

All the tension is released. The vibration amplifies apruptly. There is nothing but sympathy and concord. I’m expanding. Tears of gratefulness turn my face into a riverbed. The salt water washes away the remains of my resentments.

Every fiber of my body screams “FORGIVE YOURSELF”. Release is imperative.

Happiness updates its definition. Destiny welcomes me with open arms. I saw it coming, but it doesn’t downgrade my reverence.

It is here – doubtlessly: The reward of my journey.

For a long time I was obsessed with improving my productivity. A long time I tried to learn as many skills as possible – I still do to some extend. I wanted to read one book a week, learn two languages at the same time, learn coding, web design, improve my motion design skills, produce music and get better at writing, public speaking, coffee making, barkeeping and so on and so on.

‘On the side’ wanted to volunteer, learn sailing and in the meantime I was trying to meet my friends, find a boyfriend, eat healthy, start a business, travel… Hahaha, now only writing this down I feel dizzy. How could I think I would ‘succeed’ with this ‘attempt’? And how could I think I would be beneficial for others? And at the end – beneficial for the planet? (This is what I’m modestly aiming for.)

Nowadays my life choices maneuver me further and further away from the work-hard-play-hard mentality.

After all the ‘paradigm’: “If you are not stressed out you are not working hard enough.” still dominates the heads of us westerners. This applies to all areas of life. ‘Having time’ for oneself doesn’t seem to be worthwhile in a society where any activity is always on our fingertips. If you are not busy, you are doing something wrong.

Our time is scheduled from the day we are born. Isn’t it crazy!?

Anyhow: I ended up being completely exhausted with my attempt to do as much as possible. I’m surprised my nervous system hadn’t collapsed yet (Knock on wood!).

Beating the Torturer

“Before you can save the world you need to know who you are.” This was a piece of advice by a friend I couldn’t get a hold of in years. He addressed my – let’s be a bit pathetic here – desperate try to ‘do good’  in this world.

What he meant was that I always searched for the me in the outside. By achieving or doing something what I considered as meaningful I expected ‘to move along’ the path of self-discovery.

In reality the opposite was the case: The more I did the more I moved away from my path. I moved away from the core of my being.

Instead of finding out about my deepest needs I jumped head over heels from one challenge to another. Don’t get me wrong – challenges are good in order to find out what you are capable of. But by being obsessed with challenges I only distracted myself. I wanted to proof myself that I’m strong enough to accomplish everything. If I wouldn’t succeed I would beat myself up.

There was this voice telling me: “You are not doing enough.” – every single day. A voice that kept beating me up with reproaches all the time.

Something big had to change. Taming the torturer in my head – this became my real mission instead of being my own punisher.

“We better be nice to ourselves. Nobody wants to hang out with assholes.” Unfortunately I don’t know who this quote belongs to. Maybe I flung it into my notebook myself.

In any case – the message is clear: Be nice to yourself. Have self-compassion. Love yourself more. How many times have I been repeating these phrases? How long have I been trying so hard to cultivate this compassion with myself? I even wrote about it many times.

Become One With Yourself and then Become One With The World

Before you can connect with the world you have to connect with yourself first. And how can you connect with yourself if you are your hardest critic?

In order to spread love and positive energy on this planet you have to love yourself first. Treat yourself like you want to be treated by others – it sounds so simple and platitudinous but yet it is crucial.

We can only make a contribution to this society if we attempt every action with a positive mindset. If we want to make the world a better place we better be happy. Happiness is contagious. Malcom Gladwell explains it very well in “The Tipping Point – How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference.”

“We normally think of the expressions on our face as the reflection of an inner state. I feel happy, so I smile. I feel sad, so I frown. Emotion goes inside out. Emotional contagion, though, suggests that the opposite is also true. If I can make you smile, I can make you happy. If I can make you frown, I can make you sad. Emotion in this sense, goes outside-in.” Malcom Gladwell

Demasking Your Desires

Recently I found out that in order to cultivate this compassion I have to go through the process of what I call ‘demasking my desires’. My journey is re-conditioning. Back to root level. And only from there I can carry out something.

The process of learning about my needs is a painful one. The pursuit of carving out my personality provokes disappointment and loneliness. Like a snake I’m peeling myself as I grow out of my old skin. Over and over I shuffle off one layer at a time. Every layer requires its own technique. I really need to take the time to learn about these techniques.

Why is it such a long and complicated process? If I don’t take the time to question my desires I eventually won’t find out about my real needs. I need an example for this:

If I have the desire to get drunk every weekend or I’m obsessive about my relationship then I might distract myself from something. To be more precise: I distract myself from connecting with my own self and fulfilling my own needs.

I might want to ask “Where I am avoiding life at the moment?” This process requires honesty and courage. It is not easy. It’s time-consuming and there are a lot of forthright questions to answer.

Self-compassion is crucial for this process. Self-compassion is nothing else than self-care. And self-care is another word for self-love.

Self-care is not just treating yourself once in a while, it is nurturing yourself with what you need for your survival. And what do I need? I need to do what makes me feel the best version of who I am. It is my obligation to take these needs seriously.

Repeat after me: “My Energy Resources are Limited.”

I only have a certain amount of lifetime and according energy to spend on this planet. It is important to spend it wisely. Okay, pseudo-hyper-human, repeat after me: “My energy resources are limited.”

So, in which area am I going to invest my energy? In the area where I’m not good at? In the area where I have the most deadly learning curve? Haha, ‘nice try’ the universe is laughing out loud.

When do my eyes sparkle the most? What parts of my job do I enjoy? Who do I admire and why? When do I feel myself the most? When do I feel the most alive?

The answers to these questions are the ones that are pulling us in the right direction. What draws our attention smoothly is where we find fulfillment.

When our eyes sparkle the most we are able to connect with each other and share our gift. When we feel the least exhausted and the most alive we are able to share. And this is also when we are able to be in service for other people.

So, it is my obligation to make sure that my glass is always full. Nobody can benefit from me when I’m not my best self.

Yes, it is that simple. This is following your bliss. This is self-care. It sounds pretty straight forward, but getting there is the challenge of a lifetime.

Since I started to invest in my strengths, I manifest positive change in my life. I become the change that I want to see in this world. The circle of unhappiness had ended and this is the beginning of a new circle. The circle of happiness.

Finally I’m following my excitement and the excitement is following me.

Treat Yourself with Not Giving a Fuck

There are always people who disagree. People who are disappointed, because I don’t do what they want me to do. It took me an disproportionate time to understand that it doesn’t matter what anybody thinks of me or expects of me.

I want to be my best self and this is why I take care of myself. I can only serve a higher purpose if I’m in peace with myself. It’s not that I want to not give a fuck, no, I have to. It is healthy for me and necessary in order to live up to my own values.

Self-care is crucial in order to fulfill our purpose on this earth.

So, “When are you going to honour yourself?”

 

Uli

 

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