Seeing Ourselves = The 1st Tenet of Self-Care
A few weeks ago we talked about shifting our skin care mindsets to include: loving our skin and showing gratitude to it - every inch of it - with no expectations that it LOOK a certain way, or expect it to make us "beautiful."
I also said: We do this by creating a mindful practice to treat any area "you hate" or wish was thinner, less splothcy, less red, more tan - whatever - with even MORE love and attention.
This statement comes from a personal place, and sadly a place I know we connectedly, share. Being a Makeup Artist for 25 years, I have had the unique experience of having very private and intimate conversations with 1000's of Women who have been complete strangers, up until they sat down in my makeup chair. For some reason, they trusted me to stand inside their bubble of personal space, touch their faces, and listen while they bared their insecurities, while looking to me to help them choose products that would make them "beautiful."
A few years ago, I had the epiphany that NO WOMAN HAS EVER, sat in my chair and said, "here is what makes me beautiful and what I love about myself...." They have ALWAYS said, "here is what needs to be: covered, corrected, smoothed, lifted, tightened, toned, unwrinkled, unlined...FIXED."
I get it. Lifetimes of comparing ourselves to air-brush, photo-shopped imagery doesn't always lend itself to self-acceptance and self-love. And, drawing the line between the imaginary standards of "beauty" that the magazines and marketing campaigns would love for us to believe are real, standard, and attainable for all - vs how our own bodies and faces look in real-life - can be a tough mental and emotional exercise.
Early on, I was made aware that I have "fat knees." Up until that point, I had never considered thinking about what my knees looked like. But, upon a systematic comparison of what other knees looked like, I absorbed it as "true" - that is how I saw myself. And, at face value, my knees do look like the knees on a Cabbage-Patch-Kid doll. No bony, perfect 'lil' knee-caps here. I also have been told I have "stocky legs" and "child-bearing hips." I played softball as a Catcher from 9 years old to 16, so I also have pretty "sturdy" thighs. PS: I also have "cellulite".
I'm sharing this because it took me years to not look down at my legs in disgust, wishing they looked differently than they did/do. As a result, the "self-care" of my legs has been quite neglected and ignored. My subconscious brain thinking, "why spend time on this part of me?"
Can anyone relate?
These types of sub-conscious (and sometimes overtly conscious) messages are why creating mindful practices to treat any area "you hate" or wish was thinner, less splothcy, less red, more smooth, less wrinkly, more tan - whatever - with even MORE love and attention - is crucial to overall "self-care."
Awhile back, I made a commitment to myself. I committed to myself that it was time to start paying attention to the care of my legs. My legs are amazing. They carry me everywhere I want to go and allow me to stand for hours to do the work I want to do. I am extremely grateful to them for working perfectly, even though I have not always seen them kindly.
For 42 years, they have done an excellent job being my legs and they have never complained. And, I would love for them to continue to be amazing for the next 42 or more years.
So, how do I ACT on my commitment? I won't say I am always consistent with it, but, my favorite way is to take some extra time at least once a week, to meticulously exfoliate every inch of them with one of my soap based scrubs: either the Slim Tonqiue Soap Scrub, the Citron Dream Shave Scrub, or the NEW Limited Sea Salt Scrub. I slowly scrub until all the sugar or salt has completely dissolved.
Once rinsed, then I massage my favorite Butter Balm - Slim Tonique Butter Balm - onto my legs. I don't just put it on, but actually massage it in. Finally, I am not usually one to take the time to put body lotion on, but...I put Body Lotion on. Again, I love the Slim Tonique Body Cream, but any of them would do. It is mostly the act of mindfully paying positive attention to my legs. And throughout, I practice mindful gratitude and tell my legs thank you for being so wonderful and making so many parts of my life possible.
At first, this practice was wildly uncomfortable for me, but after awhile it allowed me to mold new appreciations and to see things differently.
For me, "self-care" has so many facets and is multi-dimensional. It requires a deep dive into ourselves, so that we can cradle the most vulnerable and overlooked parts. Products like the ones I mentioned above are tools of self-care, but it is the honest, internal reflection of what needs and deserves our love and acceptance, that gives momentum to the act of caring - for ourselves and others. This is the foundation for empathy and compassion.
So, for this "self-care" Sunday, what needs your love and attention?
FYI: There are only a few of the NEW Limited Edition Sea Salt Soaks + 1 oz Cold Bath Essential Oil Blends left. If you want one - don't wait too much longer!