2016 has been the year where I have had to face many things: my own mortality, my sense of self-preservation, my fears, my purpose… But the one lesson that this year has given me is that of self-compassion. Self care has been thrown around so often these days, especially in circles of activism, community organizing, and social service. I’ve learned how to practice self care, even make it a habit. Self-compassion, however, was more difficult to do.
I’ve had to unlearn the feeling of not deserving good, of the understanding that putting oneself ahead of others is selfish, of the desire to be seen as a martyr for the health and well-being of the people I loved. In its place, I’ve gained the knowledge of how to speak kindly to myself, to be patient when life seems to stop or even go backwards, and to remember that I am exactly where I need to be. I’ve wavered in this, which is normal and expected. What matters is that I go back to this mental and emotional state of softness.
What I’ve noticed, lately, is that all of this self care and self-compassion has led to me feeling spoiled. Like, I’m dating myself and treating myself really, really well. I don’t remember ever feeling this way, so of course it’s weird and unsettling.
And it’s making me question the notion of being “spoiled.” Is spoiling myself really such a bad thing when it’s something that rarely happens to me? I don’t think so. There’s a difference between being spoiled in the sense of expecting pleasure and what we want immediately, versus the sense of expecting goodness and what we deserve. So, my kind of spoiled is definitely the latter. I haven’t received what I want right away, which I expect is a good thing since what I want isn’t always what I need or deserve. But I have realized that being patient and waiting for good things has been paying off. It’s certainly made me wiser (although more tired but that’s probably part of the package).
Another good thing that has come out of this is the other realization that if I can treat myself this well, then I have a clearer expectation of what a partner should do to treat me well. If I can spoil myself, then I can see whether someone is able to put in the effort to make me happy. If I know what I truly deserve, then the person who will give me that will be able to step forward and do it.
I guess this year wasn’t a waste. ❤