I’ve been fortuitous to be a small part of The Great Canadian Womxn platform. My contribution to their blog can be found here: http://www.thegreatcanadianwoman.ca/i-had-an-abortion/ . The power and message behind The Great Canadian Womxn is nothing short of empowering. Topics of all kinds from all sorts of different Canadian women with a variety of messages.
The platform has book publishing, blogs and a podcast. Each one full of words and wisdom from everyday Canadian women. When the podcast dropped back in September I was enthralled by the first episode. Yenisi Onabolu gripped me. Her episode resonated deep within me. She touched on so many points in less than 20 minutes summed up neatly into 5 Realizations. Without taking away from her voice (you can check her out on the Great Canadian Womxn Podcast: SHE SPEAKS!) I wanted to comment and follow her suit on some of the topics.
One of the things Onabolu speaks of is a resume of life. Under her first realization, My Job Does Not Define Me, Onabolu talks of creating a definition of yourself outside of your profession. What you do for work is not your soul, it does not necessarily speak your values or your truth.
As I sat and listened to her dynamic words, I wondered, what is my resume of life? What is on it? Would I be proud of my resume?
An accomplishment that I’m proud of: writing a novel
Values: kindness, honesty, effort, integrity, consistency, creating, writing
Wow writing this is harder than I thought. Hm okay…
Things I enjoy doing for others: baking, making them laugh and smile, giving them a surprise
Things I enjoy doing for myself: taking hot baths, crafting, shopping, writing, going for walks, cuddling into a big cozy blanket
Truths: I care more about others than I do myself, I put the needs of others before mine, I have low self esteem, I tend to live in the future or the past and find it hard to live in the present, I wish for things to happen to me instead of making them happen, I eat to fill voids, I’m an anxious and overly serious human being, I am a lover of many things, I get attached and hurt really easily, trusting others is hard for me
It was much easier to list my “truths” than it was to think of my values. Perhaps because they are more “negative” in nature. Perhaps because I focus on what I need to fix instead of what I am.
What I am: aunt, fiancee, sister, daughter, friend, lover, giver, thinker, writer, picture taker,
But wait, does that last category still belong on my life resume? I want to argue yes, it does. Those simple labels still make me who I am. None of those labels are me entirely, but they are part of my development and sense of self. Isn’t that what this exercise is to do? To see ourselves beyond the walls of our workplace? To see what makes us, well us?
Now I need to go back to my “truths”. A lot of my “truths” directly contradict Onabolu’s fourth realization, Self Care is Not Necessarily Self Love. This is something I’ve been debating ever since the whole “self care Sunday” and self care exploded on social media. I’m all for self care, and self love. But I think sometimes we get it wrong. We confuse some self care activities as self love.
And Onabolu agrees. She states a lot of these activities are externally validated, such as getting your hair done, skin care etc. Of course these can be self love if you are doing solely for yourself and not for compliments or someone else’s benefit (i.e. dying your hair so a certain someone finds you more attractive).
So what is the difference between self care and self love? I think that will vary for each person. Self love is doing an act solely (or mostly) for your own benefit, to make yourself feel good. Self care is things like taking walks, brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing, drinking enough water. But things like reading a book, taking a bath, saying no are acts of self love. They’re for your soul not your body. Self love is for the soul; self care is for the body. Yeah, I like that.
The fourth realization includes 10 Things you can do to improve your self love. These 10 things are exceptional pieces of life advice we all could use and incorporate into our daily lives. I mentally made a note if I engaged in any of the things and sadly, I certainly definitely did not pass the test. One thing I do actively partake in is curating a community of people who encourage me to be a better person. Here’s a taste of her 10 things: ability to be vulnerable, setting and upholding boundaries, listening to your inner voice. I strongly encourage you to listen to her podcast to hear the full 10 things. They’ve made a real impact on me and the way I am living my life. At 32, I’m unhappy in many personal aspects, and I think I have found out why.
Onabolu made me realize how poorly I love myself. I vow today to take these 10 things and really live them. To begin treating myself better, with more empowerment to be authentic, true to my values and boundaries. To stop putting everyone else’s needs over my own. It won’t be easy.
Overall, her message really hit a home run. It was a perfect opening episode to a new platform of female voices. The biggest reaction I took away is to be kinder and gentler to myself. To allow myself to be me without excuse, without judgement. Not judgement from others, but free from my own judgements I place onto myself. I am not a sum of my job, I do not need to be everything for everyone.
And that’s okay.
Photo by Sinitta Leunen on Unsplash