Relationships are like cake. Being single is like baking a cake on your own. Being in a relationship is like adding icing to that cake. The cake you bake on your own should be delightful. Rich, smooth, with soft velvety textures. It should be a joy to eat your own cake. By which we mean that it should be a joy to be with yourself. Your presence in your life should be nurturing to you. We’re not taught how to cultivate a nurturing relationship with ourselves as children. Instead we’re taught to seek comfort, intimacy and satisfaction through consumption (food, TV, shopping, etc.) and through other people. But the seed of true intimacy begins with the self. The heart of true tenderness begins with the self.
When was the last time you worshipped at the altar of your own juicy being? When was the last time you tenderly caressed your own body? When was the last time you made a home for yourself in your own life, like you would if a beloved friend came to visit? Think about how you’d treat them. Do you treat yourself with the same care?
Self-care is a buzzword and people talk about how they don’t know how to do it which I empathize with. One “trick” is to imagine yourself caring for someone you really loved who you know was going through something really rough. How would your voice be when you spoke to them – soothing or judgmental? How do you speak to yourself? If you invited them into your home, what drink would you offer them when they arrived? Would you draw a bath for them? What would be in the bath? Get creative. Would you offer them a soft, warm blanket?
Imagine a beloved friend coming to visit you from far away. Think about how excited you would be for them to visit, how much joy and satisfaction you would experience spending time with them. You must cultivate the same relationship with yourself. You must put aside compulsive habits of self-blame and self-recrimination. You must invite and allow the tender messy barefooted childlike inappropriate version of you to walk hand in hand with your adult self and abide tenderly within your own heart. Then you must create ways to nurture that childlike self with all of the love and appreciate that it is longing for.