How healthy are your roots? When I speak of roots, I do not speak of those attached to your family tree, but of the roots attached to your emotional well-being. The roots that ground you. If you could imagine yourself as a tree, what kind of tree would you be? What kind of roots would your tree have? Would they be strong and healthy or lacking in nourishment?
One of the main reasons I tend to push back at life is that I do not trust that no matter what happens, I will still be okay. I am afraid I will lose something I have or that I will not get that thing I think I deserve. This makes it difficult to lean into life.
Managing How I Respond to Life
There is a direct correlation between my expectations of life and how I react to life. That reaction is completely dependent upon whether or not I have consistent and sustainable self-care practices in place that support and encourage mental and emotional security. My ability to handle myself with grace and dignity in difficult situations depends on the amount of time and effort I put into grounding myself and how well I am nurturing my tree.
I find that when life is good, when I am happy and joyful, I tend to step away from healthy self-care practices. The things that got me to this happy place seem like less of a necessity and more of an option. The result? When life starts to get a little choppy, I start to display what I like to refer to as questionable behavior. I am impatient and short-tempered. Prone to a meltdown at the drop of a hat. Self victimization, jealousy and negative comparisons run amok. It ain’t pretty, ya’ll. I openly admit to that. I back slide into the woman I used to be; unhappy, unsure and unloved-by me. So why is it that she seems to appear so often?
Easy. I get comfortable. I get complacent. I get lazy. Self-care is an ongoing process. One you cannot let up on. You have to do it even when you don’t want to, even when you think you don’t need to. When it comes to self-care, you must be realistic about when, how and how often you are taking care of you. You must be consistent. You must be smart. If you were to plant a tree yet neglect to water it, sure it might still grow, but how strong would it be? Could it stand a good gust of wind or would it crack and splinter? Would it reach it’s full potential?
Life is Like Wind
It’s easy to forget that life, like the wind, is unpredictable and that challenges can come sweeping through at any moment. It is easy to believe that life is singling us out during those times when we seem to be getting hit by wave after wave of unfortunate event. We start to feel resentment, anger, fear. We make hasty decisions, often leaving chaos in our wake or we shut down completely, unable to take a step in one direction or another.
A question I ask myself often is how well am I managing my reactions to the people, places and things around me? What does discomfort look like in my world? When I was younger, I always thought I had no control over my emotions. When things didn’t go as expected, I had a tendency to melt like warm butter, only I wasn’t as appetizing. I didn’t seem to be able to cope as others could. Where some could remain peaceful, hopeful even, I seemed to be bracing myself for the worst.
Rooted in Action
When I ask you if you feel rooted, and if you’re around me long enough, I will ask you, what I really mean is “how grounded are you?” I want to know what tools you've given yourself to manage life in a way that has you not reacting, but responding to your surroundings. Are you taking action or are you living in the pause, that space that requires us to wait and listen? Life has a way of surprising us. The seasons of life ebb and flow and there’s no telling how long each one will last. If we are not deeply rooted during the joyful times, there is no way we can sustain quality mental and emotional health when things get windy. We all want to believe that we are self sufficient individuals, that we alone hold the key to our own destinies. We think that if we set goals and follow the course, our expectations will be met time and time again. This is true to some degree. There are actions we can take to set the course for success. But the reality is that we actually have no control over much of what life brings us, only our reaction to these gifts.
Take time to nurture yourself. Really get curious about what sustainable self-care looks like for you. Fill up your cup, so much so that it runneth over and soaks the ground around you. So much so that when a heavy gust of wind comes tearing through, you’re able to bend and sway and twist, but not break. If you think you might need a little extra support, check out my services to see what coaching is all about and how it can enrich your life, then visit my appointments page to secure your time with me.