Beauty And The Beast

I learned a lot about myself today.  I have some deeply ingrained habits that are not helpful to my physical or emotional health and I need to break them.  I discovered today just how much a part of me they are.

I have been reading a book about making the best use of my personal energy in all parts of my life.  I realized, while reading it, that I do not use good self-care to recover my energy.  The major activity I have always chosen for self-care is rest.  Sleep has been my restorative choice.  This book suggested that there are other forms of self-care that might actually help me manage my energy better.  Knowing that I usually turn to sleep when stressed or weary, I thought that I might try some new strategies.

I have already begun one new strategy.  I have been exercising.  Walking on the treadmill, riding a stationery bike,  and taking yoga classes have been very good for me.  Even though I have a long way to go, I can already feel some changes in my body.  Since this is going so well, I thought I might try something else new.

I scheduled some beauty treatments for myself today.  I made an appointment for a haircut and, while I was at it, also scheduled a manicure.  This was a much bigger step than I anticipated.  In the past, I have taken a kind of pride in neglecting my appearance.  I have been known to proudly go up to two years without a haircut.  My reasoning has been that what is going on inside me is more important than what I look like on the outside.  Beauty products and services seemed frivolous and unnecessary, especially during times when money has been tight.  I did not look down on other women who took care of themselves, but thought that such luxuries were not for me.  Since I have been working, I have tried to keep myself presentable, but only with the most basic regimen – infrequent hair cuts, inexpensive hair products, very little makeup, and certainly no nail polish.

The book made me think that setting up some self-care rituals would really help me renew my energy, and so I made my appointment for today.  I was looking forward to a little pampering, but when I arrived at the salon, a little, negative, self-bashing voice began to chatter.  “You do not belong here.”  “What a waste of time.”  “Look at the money you are spending.” “You should have waited a couple more weeks to get your hair cut.” “You will just ruin your manicure in a day or two.” “You won’t even look good when you are done.” “Why bother?”

It was a really, really hard day.  It made me think about why I have made neglecting myself such a virtue.  I have become some sort of martyr, thinking that I am honorable because I don’t spend time or money on myself.  I have developed a skewed view of my own sacrifices.  Because I have seen self-care as a vice, my body has learned to crave the only restorative method I have allowed – sleep.  Too much sleep at the wrong times has actually sapped my energy.  Now that I am learning to exercise, I am learning that I don’t need to sleep as much.  My eyes are being opened to wonderful methods of self-care that I have ignored for most of my life.

Today, as I listened to my inner critic, I decided not to let this critical inner beast rule my behaviors.  I did try to figure out where that voice was coming from and why I have placed such a high value on self-denial.  As I sat in the chair, getting my manicure, the woman doing my nails had to keep telling me to relax.  Relax, relax, relax.  When I was getting my hair washed, the woman told me to relax as she was giving me a scalp massage.  Relax, relax, relax.  That word became my mantra for the day.  Relax, I told my inner voice.  I need to restore my energy.  I need to take care of myself.  It’s okay that I am doing this.  Relax.

By the time I left the salon, I had a big smile on my face.  I felt as though I had left a pile of tension on the floor with my hair clippings.  My nails were beautiful.  My hands, neck and shoulders were relaxed.  I felt good.  I have to think some more about why I am so hard on myself when it comes to self-care.  I hope to find some self-care rituals that don’t get that inner voice chattering.  Until I do, I am going to take care of myself even if it means telling my inner critic to relax.


6 thoughts on “Beauty And The Beast

  1. Hi, I enjoyed reading your blog. I also am a legally blind person. I would like to talk with someone that has the same issue.

  2. I loved this post! Scalp massages are the best! That’s honestly my favorite part of getting a haircut. Even if I don’t need to have my hair washed, I’ll pay those few extra dollars to get that relaxing treatment. I’m glad you enjoyed your pampering.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s