The odds of finding Colin Firth or Hugh Grant at your doorstep, holding a box of chocolates and declaring his love, are small – we all know that. The good news is: you don’t need that ‘tall, dark and handsome stranger’. This is how you take responsibility for your own happiness.
Life can be unbearably unfair, and in times like these, a big dose of self love is essential. But when you find yourself seeking for comfort in food, romantic comedies or meaningless friendships, you need to be strict with yourself. Author and publisher Erin Klassen struggled with this too and wrote a book about it: You Care Too Much. According to Erin, it’s all about finding the right balance between being nice and strict with yourself – and about seeing self care in a holistic, emotional way.
Taking care of yourself is important. Learning how to prepare a healthy meal, to keep your home clean and tidy so you have a nice place to live, how to be loyal to friends and how to spoil yourselves in the times you need it.
But eating a box of chocolates on the couch or lying in the bathtub for hours, while you’re avoiding the thing you need to do – in the end, it makes you feel worse. You’re putting band-aids on the wound, instead of looking for the thing that caused the injury in the first place. So: decide for yourself what you need, don’t escape what you need to do.
And it’s hard. Because sometimes all you need is that long bath. And sometimes you need to ignore your exploded kitchen. But according to Klassen, taking real good care of yourself is making choices that bring you a life you don’t have to escape.
It’s important to learn how to be honest towards yourself. What do you really need? Do you need to have a difficult conversation and are you convincing yourself it’s better not to, because it will put pressure on your relationship, or because you don’t have the time for it? That you need to be perfectly OK with yourself before you get to it? Make sure you recognise your own excuses.
Take a good look at where your fear and stress comes from. Is it rooted in the actions of others, or in the fact that you’re not using your vitality to the fullest? If you learn to do just that, you don’t need a knight in shining armour anymore – you can take care of your own happiness.
Text: Marijn Baar – Photo: Rob Potter
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