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Self Care Self Love by Mary Alexandra

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By: Mary Alexandra

“Self Care Self Love” painting by Mary Alexandra

Source: Mary Alexandra

Artist Mary Alexandra touches and inspires us with her journey towards self-care and self-love.

This topic is very pertinent to me and I am sure to many others at this time.

I’ve recently been jolted with hard unpleasant truths that I have not been treating myself well, even though I did well tricking myself in to thinking I was.

I found myself neglecting what was truly important and beneficial for me, as I was feeding myself excuses. I was complacent, lazy, and unfair to myself.

Harsh, right? But in retrospect, I was harsh on my body, mind, and spirit – ignoring the cries and pain for real unconditional love and nurture. Slowly, but ever so surely, I was hurting myself and creating a lack within, which I saw creep outwardly into my physical wellness and relationships. So I decided to begin an honest and deep self-care/self-love journey.

The process of self-care doesn’t come around once a week with a nice bubble bath, a bottle of wine, and some candles (although, that can totally be a part of the self-care “treatment”).

I have come to the conclusion that self-care is the dedication to take care of yourself – the whole self – all day every day.

For me, I have struggled with taking good authentic care of myself on and off throughout my life (due to depression, mostly). And to some people I’ve talked with about self-care/love, they seem to have also shared the same kind of struggles.

However, during the past month or so, I have steadily come to the understanding that I need to put into action what I intuitively know to be right for myself. It can be intimidating and scary to follow the path that fits you by: setting boundaries, self-advocating, and being unapologetically honest.

Self-care is the act of building and maintaining an honest relationship with the self. It starts and ends with mindfulness of how each monumental or ever so minute decision that makes up your daily life impacts the relationship you have with yourself. These thoughts, decisions, and actions are crucial to establishing trust and love with your self. 

It can also be painful to dig within and feel hurt you have (or someone else has) placed within. To realize you’ve broken promises and created mistrust within yourself. It leaks throughout the body and tends to mold and shape the way you see yourself, talk to yourself, believe in yourself, and see others. Trauma, fear, heartbreak, etc… All these “undesirable” emotions, they can burn within and will never be remedied unless you take steps toward recognizing these feelings and healing them.

For me, it took a long time to face my “shadow” self and to recognize the suffering within. Self-care takes perseverance, honesty, compassion, understanding, balance. It can be an arduous road to walk, a battle. But also one of the most full filling and astounding journeys to experience.

On your self care/love journey, take time to reflect and check in with yourself:

  • What brings my heart warmth, joy and pleasure? What resonates with me?
  • What foods make my body lighter / happy?
  • Does the media I consume bring me knowledge, empowerment, joy, peace?
  • Do I feel comfortable wearing these clothes?
  • Do I feel safe and warm in my environment?
  • Am I not doing something that I feel I need to do?
  • Are my actions demonstrating my passions and compassion to others?
  • Why do I feel insecure, sad, lonely, jealous, angry (etc)?
  • Do I need external help from a professional / a family member / friend etc?
  • Are there past experiences that still affect me?
  • Will meditation help me?
  • Do my exercises improve the relationship I have with my body?
  • Does nature rejuvenate me?
  • Am I taking risks that benefit my life?
  • When I look in the mirror do I see strength, health, and wholeness?
  • When I speak to this person, do they bring out the beauty and truth I have within?
  • What am I thankful for?
  • Who inspires me?
  • What do I do for others?
  • Do I experience what I want?

Self-care is a beautiful, intense, and very individual process. It can help to have a friend, family member, partner to venture the process alongside you. To talk about the highlights, epiphanies, doubts, and worries. But it’s not necessary. Self-care can mean many different things to all people – again, it’s a personal journey. Follow what feels right for you.

I’ve been pushed to the idea that it has to be about external beauty. Or only physical wellness. But that doesn’t amount to anything if within is diminishing.

Don’t forget to Be vulnerable. Be kind. Be accepting. Be nurturing – to yourself. Hold a space of honest communication with yourself, the people you care about and who care for you while on your journey.

Self-care starts by looking honestly within – challenging, analyzing, healing – which in turn affects the ones around you. Your interests and hobbies. Your thoughts and affirmations to yourself. Your daily routine and habits. The decisions you make. The respect you have for yourself and others around you. Are all a part of the journey. Self-care is the deepening of unconditional love for self.

In a way, I have been on my journey since day one. You have been too. Let’s keep going! 🙂 I love you.

Head on over to Mary’s Instagram to see more of her beautiful paintings!

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