How’s your self love going?
Now there’s a question I wasn’t expecting AND I didn’t want to answer! Especially when I found myself asking the question of myself!!! Yeah … nuh was the only reasonable answer that immediately came to mind! (I know, there’s too many exclamation marks in this post already.) I find it easy to love and care for others and I have so many that love and care for me. But turn it inward and immediately the bricks start building a wall the size I envisage * #45’s yet to be built Mexican border monstrosity will be. Let’s hope it never happens.
Can you love others so hard that it is to the detriment of your ability to love yourself?
Well, there’s another doosey of a question to ask yourself. How are you going with YOUR answers? I’m struggling with mine and I wrote the questions! On this one I have to say Yes I do think you can pour so much focus and energy on others, leaving you with an empty tank when it’s your turn. Mothers are especially good at this and mothers of young families can actually write the book about it. But what of parents that no longer have children at home or are caring for their grandchildren or are caring for their ageing parents? These too are danger times for our self love or care. This is the time we need it the most. It is impossible to give out to those we love or those that are in need, if we are also in need.
So what is self love? It can be different things for the same person depending where they are with their mood, state of mind, tiredness or situation. When I am feeling overwhelmed with depression or anxiety or in the midst of insomnia or just sad or low – self love comes in a very simplistic form.
- shower and get dressed.
- brush my teeth.
- eat regular meals.
- get out of bed.
- go outside of my home.
- take my medication.
- water my garden.
There’s a rather wonderful Instagram feed called make daisy chains which covers all the basic things under #boringselfcare . It is my go to inspiration when things feel too hard. Take a look it may help you.
When I am in better shape mentally, self care might involve, just to name a few.
- phone a friend.
- read a book or magazine.
- listen to my favourite music.
- watch sport on TV or Netflix.
- listen to a podcast.
The progression may continue for me, when I’m actually feeling pretty good with any of the following.
- visit a friend or catch up for a cuppa.
- go to the theatre and watch a movie.
- find a beach and get myself some vitamin SEA.
- buy myself some flowers.
- work in my garden.
- sing and dance in my kitchen.
I’m going to digress for a bit – because it was just during one of my self care excursions to the movies, that I experienced something I need to share.
It’s about a month since I took myself off to see a little indie movie starring an unknown actor called Timothée Chalamet, by the title of, Call Me By Your Name. One month on, I can not get this movie out of my head. It has a beauty and a truth that I have never seen on screen before. While it has caused me to stop and think, mostly it has caused me stop and see and hear and smell and touch and taste! It has reminded me to sit with any pain and sadness that the world has given me, as well as, the joy and hope that I claim as my own.
It is a love story. Yes, there are two young men involved. But first and foremost it is a beautiful love story. At no time have I ever thought of this as a gay movie, although I can see how some people might. For me it is a first love story between two young individuals (17 & 24), who are experiencing all the awkwardness and excitement of those first weeks, when you suddenly realise you have feelings for someone but are not sure if they too are feeling the same way. I have been there. I have felt what Elio and Oliver felt. I have felt physically ill. I have been sitting waiting for a glimpse. I have been irritable with those around me. I have been sassy mouthed and distant. I have experienced the relief when finally I discovered they too felt the same way as me. Then the shared joy and laughter and dancing and companionship for the rest of the Summer, until the inevitable realisation that with the end of the Summer comes sadness and separation.
It is at this point that an already beautifully acted movie steps up into the great movie category. ( It has been nominated for many awards this season. )
The sage wisdom of the words spoken towards the end, by the father to his son, are some of the best ever. They are at the same time, both life affirming and life changing. The delivery of the monologue by actor, Michael Stuhlbarg, is a masterclass. To quote Armie Hammer, who plays Oliver, “As a father of two little ones – it has forever changed the way I will parent my children.”
So why have I included this movie review inside my post on self care?
I’m sure that at one time or another, we have all been injured by words spoken. I know I have. A month ago, I went to see Call Me By Your Name as a self care project – not really knowing much about it. I knew it was filmed in the beautiful Northern Italian city of Crema . I knew it featured the beautiful music of Sufjan Stevens. I knew it was directed by the amazing Italian director, Luca Guadagnino, who had two other films I had previously watched and enjoyed. And of course I had heard talk about this wonderfully vulnerable young actor called Timothée Chalamet.
I chose to see it because I wished to be transported to a beautiful European Summer. I did not expect to be cut open and my heart laid bare by the honesty and vulnerability of this family. I cried a lot in this movie but not only for sadness. Often it was the exquisite beauty of the scenery or from laughter at the dinner guests or from the pain of the uncertainty or from the joy of the 80’s music. I was prepared for tears … I always am! I was not prepared for the healing ** words of the father to the son in the last ten minutes of the movie. The soothing words, that give me the courage to feel pain as well as joy and love.
Sometimes self care comes to me from the most unlikely sources. Maybe if my heart was not so damaged, I wouldn’t have felt so moved by the words spoken. Give yourself some care today and tomorrow and the next day and so on. Maybe then when the hurt is being felt, you will remember that by allowing yourself to feel you have a reserve in your self care bank account to draw on to soothe
See the movie or don’t. It’s up to you. It might be hard to find now. Maybe you would prefer to read the book by the same name, written by André Aciman? My suggestion as someone who has done both … if you intend to see the movie, do that before you read the book. Trust me on this. The book continues on another 25 years and it will, I believe, lessen the impact of the film.
* #45 refers to the person that is inhabiting The Whitehouse at present. I can not bring myself to use his name or title.
** If you do intend to see the film – DO NOT CLICK ON THE LINK – as it will totally ruin the end of the movie. If you don’t intend seeing the movie, please do watch the link.