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What It Means to Really Take Care of Yourself

“Be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars. In the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul.” ~Max Ehrmann

Last year, I realized that I lived 28 years without knowing what it really means to love and take care of myself.

In 2010, I took some wonderful, worldly trips—Costa Rica, Bangkok, Taipei—trekking and exploring.

My husband and I bought a second home. I fully engaged myself in the improvements and the creativity of decorating a fresh canvas.

I ran several races, including a half-marathon, and finished well. I joined a swanky health and fitness club where I could take trendy aerobic classes. I was “taking good care of myself.”

Life was good. I worked hard, I played hard. The end. That was the story I projected.

But it was hardly that simple or fabulous.

There was a whole lot of turbulence in my life that I was trying to fix externally:

My grandma—who became the closest female in my life after my mom passed away—moved back to Taiwan after living in the states for 25 years. Instead of sitting with the hurt, acknowledging how I felt, I planned a trip.

I reasoned with myself: “No worries, I’ll visit her in Taiwan in a few months.” I booked a flight and put a band-aid on the fact that my grandma would no longer be 30 miles from me but, instead, over 7,000 miles away.

My baby sister—who opened my heart more than I ever thought was possible—left for China. Due to financial hardship, my parents had decided that it’d be better for her to live in China with her grandparents for a few years.

I fought it at first but then subdued my feelings by validating that this was the right thing to do. I remember waving goodbye to her from the taxi with this creeping feeling of sadness and then just stuffing it away.

While traveling overseas, I became pregnant and felt so much joy. My heart grew ten times bigger. It was that same bliss and expansion I experienced with my baby sister. After seven weeks, we learned that there was no heartbeat, and we’d lose the little bean to the universe.

I remember feeling overwhelmed by grief for a few days and then bounced back literally as quickly as I could. I was back at the gym, running full speed a few short days after my surgery.

A few days later, I became very busy trying to lease out our current home and move into the new one. I remember my mother-in-law expressing sincere concern for me. She said, “Cat, I don’t mean to be hard on you, but you’re doing too much.”

I remember becoming very irritated and defensive. I responded, “Don’t worry about me. I know it seems like I’m always doing things, but I really do take good care of myself.”

After all, I worked out six days a week. I ate healthy meals. I drank 64 ounces of water daily. I had girl lunches. I had weekly date nights. I scheduled massages when I was stressed. And, on most nights I even slept a minimum of six hours.

I took good care of myself—on the outside.

On the inside, I buried vulnerability. I played the resilience card. I sought out quick-fixes. And I convinced myself I was okay.

I wasn’t taking care of myself emotionally at all. Unconsciously, I placed “I’ll deal with it later” labels on several situations when they’d trickled into my life unplanned.

Somewhere along the overachieving path of seeking perfection and always looking into the future, I lost myself when these labels accumulated.

I managed to forget how to take care of my inner world.

After neglecting what was really going on in my life, I ended up in a curled up ball in our bedroom corner, head buried in my knees, feeling a heavy amount of pain all at once.

Humans are amazing, though; we adapt, we heal, we are capable of growing stronger.

When we acknowledge that changes, challenges, and hardships are there to deepen us, to remind us that we do get second chances, and that we are each made up of love, compassion, and healing, something remarkable happens.

With this new awareness, I ended 2010 with the promise to live differently.

I made a decision to wake up each day, wholly, by connecting to who I am—to nurture myself from the inside out, to be with life instead of delay it—and, in turn, my days started to become more inviting again.

This year:

I traveled to connect instead of using it as an escape.

I became a morning person and started each day with ample time for writing, reading, and practicing yoga instead of rushing into the office, fighting traffic, and always feeling behind.

I found peace by journaling and peeling back layers to heal the hurt that was buried beneath instead of pushing them away.

I started acknowledging my accomplishments and mini-successes and celebrated with small rewards instead of rushing to the next best thing.

I slowed down, simplified tasks, reduced my online time, and committed to less instead of doing, moving, and achieving, simply for the sake of it.

I felt. I embraced the sadness I’d been carrying with me and leaned into my fears instead of placing a patch on them.

I listened to my body. I became a vegetarian and practiced mindful eating instead of counting calories and agonizing over whether or not I consumed too many carbs.

I chose to let go of the stories I kept replaying about the past and the worries I created for the future instead of clinging onto fear and anxiety.

I practiced saying no to the commitments that didn’t serve my values instead of saying yes to everything and shorting myself with each added responsibility.

I created sanctuaries—weekly time for me to relax and just be—instead of waiting for burn out before replenishing.

I followed my intuition and listened to myself in meditation instead of thinking and overanalyzing to the point of exhaustion.

I asked myself questions and allowed it to be okay that I didn’t have the answers right away instead of being hard on myself for not knowing.

I began fully acknowledging the present in its entirety—every aspect, including the playful, joyful moments, and the uncomfortable, challenging ones.

Suddenly, the world took on a different appearance—a kinder, more meaningful, more abundant, and compassionate glow.

When we take the time to re-connect with ourselves, replace our fears with trust, and learn to let go of the things we cannot control, this is taking care.

When we listen to our intuition, embrace all of our imperfections, and stay authentic to who we are, this is taking care.

When we ground ourselves in the present and make mental space to find clarity, this is taking care.

When we discover our interior barriers and find courage to dissolve them, this is taking care.

When we learn to be gentle with ourselves, this is truly taking care.

When is the last time you acknowledged the feelings that are asking for your attention? How do you take care of yourself from the inside out so that you can fully experience life?

Photo by Grand Velas Riviera Maya

Avatar of Cat Li Stevenson

About Cat Li Stevenson

Cat is a devotee to wellness, mindfulness & happiness. A recent corporate escapee who is living and practicing Zen, for the next year or so, on various meditation cushions in the world. At the intersection of her dynamic roles, Cat blogs at Think Simple Now. Add her as a friend on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.

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  • http://the100percentyou.com/ John Sherry

    A gentle nudge to honour ourself Cat Li, bless you. So very, very true that we are far too obsessed with the outer world of assets, and finances, and having and doing, and not with the inner world which takes the brunt of this hectic pressure and strain. In truth it should be an inner world we project out – boy would that heal the planet? You have wisely injected an awareness in me to be kind, supportive, loving, and tender with my ‘insides’ where my heart and soul require good care from now on so that life becomes balanced and I remain more likely to stay truly contented and in ruder health. Be true, be you!

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  • http://www.facebook.com/zazazu Karen Beth Martin

    LOVE this… so true and so timely. Thanks, Cat!!

  • Kim Heaslip

    Wow, this is exactly what I need…I am saving this as well as leaving a photocopy of it on my night table as a constant reminder!! Thanks so much!!

  • http://twitter.com/AlannahRose Alannah Rose

    I was just talking about this with my hair dresser this weekend. She said when her mother died, she “bounced back” in a short time and never really dealt with it. Much later down the road, the pain came all at once and completely disabled her. I have never had that experience but I can only imagine how it would feel to have to suddenly process all of the bad feelings that had been pushed away for weeks, months or years.

    This is such a great reminder to stop and take care of ourselves in every way possible, and deal with things as they appear in our paths (as well as we’re able to, anyway). Being gentle with ourselves is truly key as well. The world is hard enough on us as it is!

    Thank you, Cat Li!

  • bluebird

    Cat, Thanks for sharing such a personal story. I felt connected to some situations and feelings. It’s certainly never too late to have a deep breathe and look inside at what it really makes us unique!

  • Cat Li Stevenson

    John~ What a beautiful message. Yes, yes, yes: Honor Ourselves and Be True! In a world that projects so many external distractions, it can be easy to forget check-in on the inside. I think we all need a reminder every once in awhile.

    Thank you for sharing such a wonderful comment :)

    Warmly,

    ~Cat

  • Anonymous

    There’s a lot of great wisdom in here, about investing yourself through being instead of doing. Lovely! Thanks for this!

  • Cat Li Stevenson

    Alannah~ I can certainly relate to your hairdresser. I’ve learned, the hard way, that there’s a fine line between being resilient versus being true to what you may be feeling.

    I agree that we have a tremendous amount of pressure from the fast paced world, and we must remember to take care of ourselves first.

    Blessings to you and your hairdresser :)

    ~Cat

  • Cat Li Stevenson

    Kim~ So glad that this resonated with you. And honored that these words will be by your bedside :)

    Love to you,

    ~Cat

  • Cat Li Stevenson

    Karen~ Always grateful for your support. Happy this is so timely for you :)

    Thank YOU!

    ~Cat

  • http://twitter.com/mayasaputra Maya Saputra

    Hello Cat :) your way to deal with your problem sounds exactly like mine. I always put my emotion & that tiny voice in my heart aside, because I always think that I have to be strong (I don’t like people to see me as weak). I look fine and cheerful from outside, but I still grief over my problem when I get to spend time alone.

    I was just finished talking to my friend before I got to read this article, and she was actually advising to be gentle on myself and no more blaming myself :)
    I guess I have to start to put these great suggestions & advices into practice now :)

  • Michelle

    simply beautiful. Thank you for your wisdom <3

  • Cat Li Stevenson

    Maya~ I’m glad you can relate :) Sometimes it seems that being tough or strong is the answer. At times, it can be. And at other times, it hurts us.

    The self-awareness that you have to be gentler and kinder is huge (!!). It seems that’s where it begins–when we acknowledge that we can be much more loving to ourselves.

    Lots of love to you on your journey,

    ~Cat

  • Cat Li Stevenson

    Ariella~ Cheers to more being and less doing :)

    ~Cat

  • Cat Li Stevenson

    Bluebird~ My heart is still pounding from sharing such personal stuff.

    To read that you (and others) feel connected, to some degree, makes it all worth it. Yes, look inside, breathe, acknowledge, and stay true to you :)

    Love,

    ~Cat

  • http://www.facebook.com/MetaphysicalMom Leigh Harris

    Thank you for an inspirational check on what is important in life. As we strive to be our best and do our best, it is important to remember that our best is what happens now. We can still strive, but recognize that our soul needs nurturing in the present moment as well.

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  • http://twitter.com/amazonsun Tia

    This gave me a lot to think about, thanks.

  • Nina

    About the quote:I wonder if it is really from Max Ehrmann. My mother has a calligraphy – made by my great uncle some 20 years ago- stating it is written by ‘unknown’, and the piece was found in St Pauls church a looooooong time ago. It is the first time I heard his name but I find it in google now many times. The whole poem is gorgeous, and I know the ending as; ‘In the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be’. That is such a progressive statement!
    Hmm I wonder how to find out the true origin!

  • Nina
  • Anncnguyen

    There’s no pinning this butterfly down. I love you bff.

  • http://thecuriousyogis.com Sarah, one curious yogi

    Thank you for sharing your heart with us.

  • http://www.kararane.com kara rane

    hi Cat~
    Lucky to be YOU!

  • Qnbee53

    I was so incredibly touched by this article & it really resonated with me personally especially with some recent major life events, thank you!

  • http://www.miss-britt.com Miss Britt

    “I started acknowledging my accomplishments and mini-successes and celebrated with small rewards, instead of rushing to the next best thing.”

    I really need to work on this one especially.

  • Ommanipadmeombtv

    Cat i love this writing. I am so there. I liked the idea of letting go of stories. A few more things I would add to this:
    One needs to put energy out to get energy back. For example I now do T’ai Chi every day, and twice if my energy feels low.
    Also I myself in nature as often as I can, as it is there in Mother Nature’s Bosom that I feel a great sense of oneness.
    I enjoy volunteering, I feel bigger knowing I really am connected.
    and finally making my time with friends and family count by making the time meaningful.
    Peace,
    Judi

  • http://twitter.com/wendymiyake wendy miyake

    Cat,
    I was so moved by your story. You are so young yet the challenges you faced must be growing a warrior within you. I am so inspired by your realization that you need to allow yourself to feel what you feel. As one of my friends always tells me, “You don’t get over it, you go through it.” We always feel like we have to hold everything together but I think there’s a purpose for these difficult moments in our lives. Your ability to stay present with all that has happened to you, inspires us all to exhale and sit with our feelings. Thank you so much for your article.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_TEZDXTJQUWT2FRBLS7CCSGLI3A Thomas, Jr.

    You’re terrific Cat. Great, great article. You are a gift to others, and your sharing to help others shows how selfless you are.
    Elisha and I cherish your friendship.

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  • Laura

    This really speaks me at this moment in time… thank you so much for sharing, Cat, what a beautiful article.

  • Carolyn

    Hi Cat – thanks for sharing. What great insight you have discovered in your personal journey. I look forward to incorporating some of your suggestions into my current chaotic life so I can care for myself in a deeper more meaningful way. Carolyn

  • Cat Li Stevenson

    BFF~ love you back lots :)

  • Cat Li Stevenson

    Carolyn~ When we’re busy, it’s easy to live in default mode. We forget to take care of ourselves because there are so many distractions and our constant movement can take us away from self-love. Wishing you lots of peace and time to slow down. Grateful for your comment :)

    Thank you,

    ~Cat

  • Cat Li Stevenson

    Miss Britt~ This is a big one I’m still working on too. I became aware that I love to accomplish things and check them off of an invisible list…”Done. Onto the next!” I realized, though, when we operate this way we will spend our entire lives chasing…and I wonder when will it ever be enough?

    This moment is good enough, and I think one of the greatest acts of self-compassion is to celebrate our accomplishments, large and small.

    Cheers to you :),

    ~Cat

  • Cat Li Stevenson

    Qnbee53~ So glad this may have helped put some of your life events in perspective :) Empowering to know we are never alone in how we feel.

    Best wishes & <3,

    ~Cat

  • Cat Li Stevenson

    Hi Kara~ Yes, life is really, really good when we choose to see it that way :)

  • Cat Li Stevenson

    Hi Leigh~ You’re so right. Pursuit and presence can go hand in hand…it’s taken me some time to adjust to this (still working on it every day), but realize that thus moment is all we really have. You’re always so wonderful :)

    Grateful,

    ~Cat

  • Cat Li Stevenson

    Wendy~ That’s a very kind comment and perspective. I woke up to it this AM & just sat with it.

    When these challenges enter our lives, I think the only way we can ever be whole is by leaning into the discomfort with the belief there’s something bigger (than ourselves) guiding the way. As you may remember from your post and my comment, vulnerability is such a new concept for me, but one that’s made all the difference–freeing and followed by clarity.

    Very grateful for your words, as I feel a connection with your writing & perspective :)

    Love,

    ~Cat

  • Cat Li Stevenson

    Judi~ I’ve heard so many amazing things about Tai Chi. I’d love to try It sometime.

    Thanks for sharing such great ideas.

    Love to you :)

    ~Cat

  • Cat Li Stevenson

    Thomas~ Thanks for stopping by. I always appreciate your big heart. You and Elisha are a blessing in our lives :)

    Love you guys,

    ~Cat

  • Cat Li Stevenson

    Laura~ I’m so happy the article meets you where you’re at. The universe is awesome like that :)

    Best to you,

    ~Cat

  • Cat Li Stevenson

    Nina~ I love that:
    ‘In the noisy confusion of life, keep peace with God, whatever you conceive him to be’.
    Yes, what beautiful and progressive words…

    Happy Friday to you!

    ~Cat

  • Decogirl73

    Hi, I am going through a situation in my life now. I divorced my husband of 4 years (10 years of a relationship total) back in Fall of 2008. I never really had a true greiving process. I became involved not long after in another relationship with very intense emotions. I thought that this was my second chance at love and hopefully marriage. But that ended late last year because he broke things off. I was devastated…I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. I am still working through losing this last love, on top of these feelings resurfacing about by divorce now. I certainly have moments that I wonder if I am going crazy in my head. I need to nuture my heart and soul back to health, and this post is reminding me how to do that. Thank you so much!
    Amy

  • Cat Li Stevenson

    Amy~ Thanks for sharing such a personal story with us.

    I can imagine the heartache you’ve been going through. I certainly believe that there is someone special out there for each of us. I think that when we begin to love and nurture ourselves first–and become whole from the inside out–that amazing person will show-up then.

    We all have moments where we feel like we’re going crazy (at least I do)–each of us have challenges, just different versions of it. I do believe that hardships give us a chance to deepen our compassion, heal, and find more strength on the other side.

    With your self-awareness and commitment, I know you’ll find love again :)

    Hang in there.

    Love,

    ~Cat

  • http://twitter.com/rltychick Leslie Carrero

    This was a beautiful piece, so well written..it truly resonated with my life at this time and how I need to make changes….thank you!

  • Cat Li Stevenson

    Leslie~ Thanks for the kind words. I’m so glad you can relate :)

  • Kim Heaslip

    You might like the book by Gabor Mate “When the Body Says No–The Cost of Hidden Stress”–the link between emotions and disease–very thought provoking. I am impressed how you respond to everyone! In the anonymous world of Internet, it is a very ‘grounding’ touch that makes each person feel special…you obviously practice what you preach!!! This is favourite FB site that I follow! <3

  • na

    lovely

  • Eldereaze

    Cat, 2011 has been my year of self discovery and care as well: ) I loved your article – it touched me completely and reaffirmed the need to take care of the inside — I lived 25 years without knowing these things and living for others. I am much happier knowing ME! Thank you, Terry

  • Sying

    Beautiful. I am like that too jumping from one thing to another never stopping till I burnt out. Now to start a new climb back from it and to be more mindful of my interior

  • Anonymous

    I had to learn to slow down and learn to enjoy life. With that I started meditating, and actually quieted my mind and started dreaming (I never dreamt, because my mind was always ON.) It was then I realized, that I need to just relax and enjoy life.

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  • Cat Li Stevenson

    Mbrsociety~ Ah, yes, meditation: so much truth can be found when we stop to actually listen.

    That’s wonderful you’ve found such an important realization from deep within yourself. Sounds like you’re on a lovely journey of spiritual shifting and transformation :)

    Love,

    ~Cat

  • Cat Li Stevenson

    Sying~ I am a recovering, serial jumper, too. I fully understand. When we stop moving, it becomes apparent that half the time we’re moving simply for the sake of moving (with no deeper purpose at all).

    So yes, yes and yes: cheers to less doing and more being :)

    ~Cat

  • Cat Li Stevenson

    Terry~ Oh, I’m happy that you’re happier knowing who you are :)

    My guess is that you will have a very happy and fulfilled life, given the self-discovery and self-awareness so young.

    Love,

    ~Cat

  • Cat Li Stevenson

    Kim~ I’m always up for a good book… I will definitely check it out! Thank you for sharing this with me :)

    Much of the joy I find in writing is the connection with like-minded people, so this communication is truly a part of the writing process for me.Love to you,

    ~Cat

  • Khaled Allen

    I feel like this story describes me exactly. I exercise a lot and eat healthy and sometimes I use that as an excuse that I can handle any stresses that come my way without concern for resting or taking time for myself. I feel obligated to always be around for others at the expense of my mental health too, but I’m funding that only makes people take advantage of me. But finding a balance between taking care of myself and not seeming selfish seems tricky for me.

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  • http://twitter.com/inspirehealth16 Suzanne Williams

    Clicked on this site after reading smilewithyourheart. Love this post. It does make you stop and realize to appreciate yourself and relax.
    Suzanne 

  • Cat Li Stevenson

    Hi Suzanne~ I’m happy you stumbled on this link and can appreciate it :) Love to you, ~Cat 

  • Cat Li Stevenson

    Khaled~ I’m glad this resonated with you.

    My best friend gave me this analogy when I once struggled with the balance of taking care of my siblings and myself: just like the flight attendant always instructs to put the oxygen mask on for yourself first–before helping others on the plane–same is true in life. 
    We must attend to ourselves, to be whole, before we can fully and genuinely help others. Take good care :)~Cat

  • Xavier

    I love how God works. 
    We have been discussing this very thing at church and at home, now I read it from you.  When wisdom is being offered to you it is best to take it. I will be taking the time to disconnect, rest and focus on what really matters.
    Thanks!   

  • Cat Li Stevenson

    Xavier~ Your comment makes me smile :) How cool. 

    Yes, God, the Universe, Buddha–however one defines it–is truly amazing. When we believe in something bigger than ourself, live with good intentions, and trust in the flow of life, little miracles show up everywhere… Blessings to you,~Cat 

  • Bernadette

    oh i LOVE this! I have been carrying around a huge ‘knot’ in my stomach for days and I really needed to read this. Thankyou. I am going to print it now so I have a copy with me when I feel that knot again. :)

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  • Wisdomisforever

    aw, this is so beautiful! thanks for sharing your experience. i’d been living in denial for so long, thought i get through life not taking care of myself, but it just don’t work that way! God bless!

  • Arukarim20092009

    Hello,

    with every body’s comment, sharing and words suddenly make me to feel like my internal burning has shared with all even though I did not say any thing….thanks to each of u for sharing…** Arunima**

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  • Nikki

    Thank you for writing this…I found myself in this message; in who you used to be. “Be gentle with yourself” is what someone advised me, at the time I could not comprehend the statement. Now, little by little, it is making more sense as I endeavor to slow down, question “what am I doing this {insert next big thing here} for??”, and to enjoy the peace of just being me. Your “definitions” of taking care of yourself is EXACTLY what I needed; make it plain.
    Thank you, Cat Li! (:

  • Sushma

    tat is really superb…..iam adding it in my favorite list…….but tel me onething how do we connect with ourselves…i really need help on this if u could then i wil b happier

  • Vandan261

    What an incredibly simple yet powerful thought there Cat. At this point in life I think it resonates with me completely … Intact applies to any stage of life that you are in.
    I came across this article when my mind was completely getting burnout with doing things yet not being able to enjoy the accomplishments . Yes I do agree being is more truthful than doing.

    Each of your comments brings a peaceful understanding that everything need not be perfect .
    Bless your peaceful heart ! A heartfelt thank you.

  • Mammut_projekts

    Hi Nina,auf Deine Frage,über deinen wahren Ursprung…so ist die Antwort doch sehr simpel…*nachdenken* du bist das Produkt aller Genetischen Verbindungen Deiner Ur -ur -ur …(und weiter noch) Väter und Mütter. Wie alt “Deine Linie” ist und wo er “Ursprung” statt gefunden hat, diesen Hinweis könntest du in einer Gen- Analyse wiederfinden. Die andere Möglichkeit wäre (du hättest “Übersinnliche” Fähigkeiten) um bis an  das “tiefste Ende” (Ursprung) Deines Ichs hinab oder hinauf zu steigen…Echte Meditation,kann dir dabei behilflich sein um zurück zu den Anfängen zu kommen…ich wünsche dir viel Kraft und Ausdauer für diese schwierige Aufgabe…lg. knuth manfred

  • nitin

    this is a perfect place for me to be unstressed……
    i`m finally delighted….

  • Kaneisha

    Do you work at all?

  • Kaneisha

    You should respond to be respectful

  • shirl

    I was intrigued with your story. I am not well with sle and fibromyalgia and run a community and tourist info centre. your advice is valuable, thank you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jiggaplz Vickor Robinson

    Amen. I’ve never gotten emotional reading a blog; you wrote how I feel. I really appreciate your post. Best of wishes to you in the present and future.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mahesh.sahu.98031 Mahesh Sahu

    My god! You are so insightful and full of clarity. Thanks for sharing

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1117814643 Esther Bautista

    Thanks! I printed it out for me also as a guide not a rule.

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  • cloe jones

    i like it

  • Barbara

    Dear Cat, Thank you so very much for this article. I’m 28 years old, and I have recently realized I never really took care of myself. I am trying to learn, and this article helped a lot. Thank you. Love, Barbara

  • Guest

    Your post moved me into tears and I’d like to share this with you, by Salma Hayek. “People often say that ‘beauty is in the eyes of the beholder’, and I say that the most liberating thing about beauty is realizing you are the beholder. This empowers us to find beauty in places where others have not dared to look, including inside ourselves”.

  • Antoinette

    This resonates so deeply with my soul. Thanks for sharing!

  • andi

    This is a beautiful article. After reading it, I feel peaceful.

  • Diane

    Thank you thank you! My therapist keeps telling me to take better care of myself, but I really don’t know how, beyond a vague list that looks a bit like your original one. Thank you for articulating your ideas so clearly and sharing them with us. X

  • LC

    I have been in full steam ahead mode since I had my first child. That was 22 years ago. Just recently I felt I had to close up my cafe business due to setbacks and feeling like a failure. In the back of my mind I hear me telling myself that I have achieved a phenomenal amount in my life. More then I have ever thought possible. But thoughts flood my mind…I have failed my business, my family, myself. What are you going to do? How are you going to fix this? I have never celebrated any of my efforts with my family. Birthdays are a waist of time. If it’s not practical, don’t do it. Well, I asked myself, what’s the point? After reading your artical, I find I have been asking the wrong question. And, I have never looked after myself or even knew how to or where to begin. Thank you for sharing a part of your life. I am looking for a change, its going to be so hard breaking old habits. But thanks to your artical, I have a starting point.

  • ken

    Cat…this was a huge inspiration to me! I have always focused on the world on the outside and i totally ignored the inside world. Your story was uplifting and has given me a new diraction in life. Hugs to you my friend.

  • Amber Rivera

    Just what I needed today…. Thank you for this inspiring article:)

  • J

    WOW. This was truly amazing. I can’t express to you enough on how much this helped. Thank you! ~ xo

  • Alice T

    Thank you Cat for your wonderfully soothing words about caring for ourselves. I googled ‘how to look after myself’ and your article/link came up first on the list. I am in desperate needs to care for myself as I know I am reaching that breaking point now. I’ve found exactly what I needed from what I read above. THANK YOU.

  • Pod72

    I needed this today. I’ve been feeling my world tumble around me this past week. Thank you for sharing.

  • Jason

    Thank you for posting this, it was really good.

  • TheWordistheWord

    “Due to financial hardship, my parents had decided that it’d be better
    for her to live in China with her grandparents for a few years.”

    I
    am confused. You bought a second home by 28 and traveled all over the world but could not find the
    compassion within you to help your sister who had opened your heart more
    than anyone else? After all this you still had the luxury to be a “corporate escapee” when many who have worked very hard have not been able to get into it. You were even able to dig deep enough in your pocket to pay for a swanky health club but helping your little sister and grandmother was out of reach. Can you just imagine the grief she is going through not having sorted out her life like you have? Yet you think now is the time to take care of
    your self. Seems like the feelings you experience are totally the selfish feelings of your own losses and not those for others. I think therein lies the Buddha’s lesson, nothing is satisfactory. No matter how much we have there is always something causing dissatisfaction. The selfishness of western Zen practitioners never ceases to baffle me. They always seem to miss the part about compassion. I am sorry my message appears harsh but sometimes the obvious needs to be pointed out.

  • KBFree

    Oh this is just perfect for me today. I am here because I chose to take the day off in my most busy time to be with feelings of letting go of a very close friend who is burned out like you described here and hanging on tight to the thinking that got her there. I am going in the opposite direction and it is getting harder and harder to support her and listen to her stress. So , I just needed some support in taking the day off ( guilt free, LOL) to honor myself and what we were to each other. This is beautiful what you wrote and so encouraging to hear your uplifting journey. I love this sight where i can meet like-minded people.

    That quote is from Max Erhmann’s poem Desiderata