Hosted by Jodi Hildebrandt.
This episode is part 2 of 2. Listen to part 1 >
In this episode, Jodi continues last week’s discussion of self-care. Caring for oneself is a personal responsibility, as many of us would agree. Yet, it’s so easy to be unaware and unconsciously attempt to “make” someone else take care of me, my wants and/or my needs. This week, Jodi explains the component of responsibility in relation to self-care.
Episode 41: Self-Care & Responsibility (Part 2)
PDF Version: Episode 41: Self-Care & Responsibility (Part 2)
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Good morning and welcome to ConneXions Classroom Podcast. This is being audio streamed live on January 31st, 2015. We’re going to talk this morning about how to self-care, like how we learn how to self-care and who exactly who is responsible for our self-care. A lot of people would say it’s ourselves, but as we interact with our world sometimes we send the message that actually we want somebody else to be responsible for ourselves.
This goes back to, when we’re born we are immediately being instructed on how to love and how to care‚—or not—for ourselves. The permission to self-nurture and the instructions that we receive through environments or by examples of our care providers are powerfully motivating and affect how we view ourselves physically, spiritually, and emotionally, and thus how we end up caring for ourselves. Because modeling is so powerful a medium and influences us in very profound ways, we all have learned particular messages regarding how, when, and why we need or don’t need to care for ourselves.
Have you ever noticed that if you pay attention you can learn from someone how they care for themselves or not, if you just watch them and listen to their language. The Truth is, no matter what messages we are sent as children (or were sent to as children, as teens, or as adults), our worth, our value—who we are spiritually—is stable. Those characteristics never change: our worth, or value, who we are as as a soul never changes. No matter what we’re told about ourselves, no matter what we do wrong or right, no matter what we become or don’t become, or no matter how good, or bad, or enough, or not enough, how lovable or unlovable we believe we are—our value, our divinity, our exceptional nature as being a son or daughter of a God never changes.
You cannot be anything other than that on the planet: that you are divine and you are of the utmost importance. That is the Truth. And because that is the Truth, shame is constantly attempting to make you—convince you—that you are not divine, that you are not important, that you are not enough, and that because of your beliefs, your poor choices, mistakes, selfishness, greed, unworthiness, not enoughness, unlovability, traumas, and whatever else you’ve done or has been done unto you, that therefore you are no longer of worth, or that somehow you lost your value, or somehow you’re at fault for something that you’ve either done or something that was done onto you—that you’re not enough or some other lie that calls into question your ultimate value. The ultimate worth and divinity that is yours—that is stable because it is you and has always been you and will always be you, no matter what. No matter what.
That is such a hard principle to wrap your heads around, especially when we’ve been practicing feelings or beliefs of, because of this then it means that I have lost my worth or I’m not enough. The reason why all of us are so susceptible to believe shame’s lies is because we’re being told that what we do is who we are. That, my friends, is the greatest lie of all. What we do or what is or has been done onto us by others can be very harmful, painful, disturbing, traumatic, wrong, selfish, sad, yet it is an action of doing—someone did something. It doesn’t take away your being. When that action of doing was done it can be addressed, it can be acknowledged, if needs be repented of, made restitution for, forgiven, and healed.
Even if I or another choose not to go through the process listed above, I and they still can’t lose any value because of what they’ve or I’ve done. Doing does not translate into being different. My being is fixed. My soul is divine. So therefore, because my soul is divine, no amount of what I do can or will change that. My choices—things that I do—affect how I feel about myself for certain, yet those choices cannot change my being.
I keep going over this because it’s so, so important. It is as important as making choices in my life that lead to having physical ailments or scars on my body. Though I have made though types of choices, they have affected me physically and I have evidences of the choices I’ve made, yet I’m still myself, I’m still Mary, I’m still James, I’m still the being. My body has been altered but my spirit is still the same. It’s important that you understand that because you’ve got to be able to practice that Truth when shame comes in, you just must. I come to this Earth knowing who I am, so basically there’s no shame when I’m born. When I was a child, I loved myself, and dependent on who and what environment I was born into, I will either be supported to remember who I am, which means I will be taught about being emotionally honest, about how to stay responsible, and humble, and stay connected to myself. Or I will learn from my environment levels of shame and/or pride and thus carry their distortions of shame and pride with me. They’re not mine, they’re someone else’s. I’ll learn my own as I go through my life, but when I’m little, I don’t have any.
At some level, we have all had modeled for us someone else’s shame and pride and the hope is that we have people around us to teach us and model for us how to heal the serious wounds that shame inflicts on its victims. There are so many sources of this kind of modeling in our lives. Every modeling opportunity can bring out someone else’s shame and invite us to enter into it, which will alter and distort the message being sent or modeled. Messages are sent through overt and covert means using verbal and nonverbal cues.
Again, this is not blaming anyone. This is just teaching us how we’ve been affected, how we started out, what and who we really are, and how that cannot change. But the only thing that can change is a belief system that says I don’t believe I’m that way. Even though you don’t believe it, it still is set. It is as steady as the sun rising in the morning, that you are divine.
These sources come from parents, extended family members, siblings, friends, school associates, other individuals or situations that we experience teach us how to care or not care for ourselves. If we have a lot of shame in us, then we naturally will not want to care for ourselves because we won’t believe that we have any value.
When we’re young, if our environment is modeling shame we will learn a particular set of messages, expectations, perceptions, and a desire to stay connected to others and thus we are willing to do one of two things. If those things happen to us when we’re little—we get those kinds of messages—we will disconnect and we’ll show up one of two ways when we disconnect.
We’ll show up in a very shame-based way or a very prideful way. Or a mixture of both of them is usually most common. So selflessness or selfishness, we talked about that in the first podcast.
Shame shows up and I say something like, “Whatever’s necessary to make peace, be agreeable, work things out, get along, be nice, I will show up like that. I’ll kind of give myself other and do whatever is necessary.” And when we learn these types of messages to the exclusion of other messages, we oftentimes forget about ourselves and only care for others without even recognizing that we must be nurtured first—that we must take care of ourselves first.
Or we could go into this very prideful position, this selfishness position. Messages we learn: to only look towards ourselves to the exclusion of others and thus expect others to work things out, make peace, be agreeable, get along, be nice towards us, so we can experience or feel connected with them. The problem is if I’m neither one of those positions I cannot be connected and so it doesn’t matter how I show up if I’m showing up from a fear position or have any kind of shame or pride in me, I won’t be able to give to another person or feel the caring, or the giving, or the love from them because they can only share it, they can’t give it to me. They can only share it with me. And I have to be available, I have to open so that I can pick it up and notice it.
Neither one these positions of trying to connect will work. They are both enticing “solutions” and illusions to wanting to connect but it won’t be sufficient if I’m not first connected to myself.
The ability to love self is a skill and this skill must be taught. You either need to have someone model it for you, whether you’re a child or even as an adult you can have somebody model it for you who possess this skill. Or by someone who is willing to proactively teach you this skill of nurturing, of caring, and loving of oneself. You will learn the skill set of learning how to be honest and learning how to be accountable for oneself, and compassionate, and respectful, and learning how to manage your fear, and reframe your shame. All of these characteristics must be done unto yourself, and then you can practice and engage with another person.
It is such a challenge to love oneself, it is not something you just say you’re going to do and then you go out and do it. For those of us who have possibly never had love shared with you, it will be a very difficult journey to learn how to love oneself. When I say those of us who have not had someone love us, there’s many, many people in the world who don’t have any relationships or never have had any relationships where someone has freely shared love—like true, pure love with them. Basically that means they don’t want anything in return, And so it’s very, very challenging to learn how to do this.
If love has not been shared or rarely shared with you, it will feel strange or unfamiliar and something you possibly won’t trust. And if you’ve not been fortunate to have people around you who know how to love, or honor, or respect, or show compassion towards themselves or towards you, shame will be the experience you’ve had, and shame thus has taught you not to trust love, not to trust compassion, or goodness, or sincerity coming from someone else.
You need to be around someone who consistently—that is the key—models how to think about self love, how to be responsible towards self. And then how to be responsible towards others. This is one of the ways to know if love is coming towards you. Desiring to give to others will naturally come when you first possess these loving feelings for self. Or someone can teach you the skills and manners of thought and behavior of how to truly love oneself. But there’s got to be a lot of reframing of your shame thoughts and behaviors so you learn to scrutinize yourself and understand what’s motivating you. You must know this. If you don’t know how to do that, then you will react in shame and you won’t really be in a place of loving of self, you’ll be in a place of unawareness around your shame messages.
If you want to love you, and therefore love others, you must understand your intentions towards yourself and also towards other people. This is an absolute necessity of being present in this process of self-respect, and honor, and valuing of oneself.
It only makes sense that if you’re going to respect, honor, and value self, that the self must be respectful, honoring, and behaving in ways that are honest and responsible so that you feel congruent with knowing about your behavior and knowing that what you think and what you behave are the same.
When someone you love behaves in ways that are disappointing, it doesn’t change the love you feel for them, but it does create a disconnect between how you feel about them and their behavior. Love is still present yet their behavior creates sadness, disappointment, and disconnection.
It’s always my responsibility—every time—to behave in my integrity not because it takes away from my worth or value if I don’t, but because I will feel confused about myself when I do, or act, or behave in ways that are contrary to who I really am. And when I behave inconsistently with who I truly am, shame comes in and creates a dialogue of doubt, and confusion, accusations, blame, entitlement, fear, and anything it can to “make you” feel not worthy, not valuable, not enough, not good. You feel better than another person, you feel like you’re the exception, you’re undeserving, or deserving of whatever you want.
So when you act contrary to who you really are or what you really believe, shame will come in and distort Reality and Truth. When you do, it doesn’t equate to who you are. When you do, that’s all it is—it’s what you do. It means that you need to be responsible for what you do, but it doesn’t mean you’re bad, unlovable, better than another person, worthy or unworthy, mean, not mean, and on and on—it doesn’t mean that. That is shame’s lie. Because I do or because I did, thus I am—that is the lie.
The Truth is because I did or I do, then I need to clean that up—that’s it. I just need to go and acknowledge what I did or what I am doing and be responsible for it. I still have my worth intact. The only way to truly and authentically connect and stay connected to myself, others, God or a Higher Power is to care for and love myself first in physical ways, spiritual, emotional, social. Any way that you show up in life you must be loving towards self which will generate a feeling of worth and respect for self. You will then want to share that love, compassion, respect, and nurturing with others, just quite naturally. It will show up, you don’t need to do anything more because it will just be a very natural motion that you’ll move into.
[00:20:07] Personal Responsibility
From that first little section, you’re hearing that you’re responsible. I shared a little bit about where love comes from or how to recognize how to love oneself if you have not been taught. But here is your part in how to be responsible to love and care for yourself.
In order to do that, you must learn how to respect, be respectable, be honest, be responsible, and live inside your integrity. We have an obligation, a responsibility to care for and nurture not only our physical bodies but also our emotional and spiritual aspects of ourselves—our souls. It is imperative that we appreciate the importance of caring for our self and realizing that no one else can do it for us. Literally no one else can care for us, but us.
We are always responsible to meet our own needs and/or to share with another and request or ask if they are available to meet our wants or needs that we have. We don’t get to expect or demand that others meet our needs. It’s impossible. If someone is not able to choose or not able to meet our wants or needs, it’s not our right to react to them, blame them, resent them because of their lack of attention towards us. We are responsible, ultimately, to meet our own needs and wants, and we don’t get to react when someone doesn’t or is incapable of meeting them for us.
For example, if I’m needing some validation and I need it from an outside source, I’ve got to go ask for it, I’ve got to let somebody know that that’s what I need. We get to be compassionate and have empathy towards the person who is not available instead of getting angry, or hurt, or making judgments towards them, like they don’t care about me or if they loved me then they would do this. When people show up in this way it’s not personal that they can’t or won’t address your wants or needs. It doesn’t mean lack of love or concern towards you, it only means that for some reason they’re not available to meet that want at that time.
[00:22:20] Wants vs. Needs
I’ve been using wants and needs almost interchangeably, but let’s define the difference between wants and needs. Each of us are equipped to care and love for self, yet for many people they are not taught or modeled how to sincerely love oneself for whatever reason. Maybe their childhood was not one where love was modeled, or shown, therefore there was a lot of shame. Having shame modeled instead of love is not a bad thing, it’s a human thing. All of us had shame handed down to us as children and some of us were fortunate enough to be connected to others who either modeled self-love and how to shift our mindset, or taught us the components of how to nourish the body and the soul—which is another way to love oneself. And what it did is it stopped the shame from getting into our emotional and spiritual systems.
Even if you were not modeled or did not have taught to you, you are still responsible and accountable to provide for your needs and wants. Once you are an adult, the focus of responsibility shifts from your parents or care providers to you. Even if you did not receive all that would have been ideal for you to receive, you are then still responsible to provide for your own wants and needs.
That might sound really harsh or unrealistic for somebody listening to the podcast. I know when I start thinking about that I was a little bit resistant like, I don’t want to be ultimately responsible, I should have gotten all that I needed. But the Truth is that I didn’t. Even though that sounds harsh that you are responsible to take care of yourself, it is absolutely the best thing that can transpire for a young adult. It is through the challenging maze of growing up and “making things work / be enough,” or self-sacrifice that self love and self-care grows. By struggling with life yet being willing in life to stay honest and responsible for yourself and the outcomes of your choices, and be humble about the things that are happening or things that are transpiring around you. As you do that, it will teach you and refine you and redefine you and create a masterpiece in you if you are willing to move with life and not attempt to control it. That is key. You cannot attempt to control life. “Control life” means I have addictions or I think that the way life is playing out for me is wrong. I need to be really open to whatever is being presented that I can manage it. I might need some help and I get to ask for that, but I can manage it.
Life will present to all of us in a particular way and you will need to become a loving, caring individual. If you will live very simple principles of nourishing your soul, you’re able to do that.
All of us can do this regardless of where you’ve come from or what your circumstances have been. All of us can practice skills of self-love, and self-respect, and honor. As we live in this manner we will clearly see the difference between our wants and our needs.
We all have needs and we all have many, many, many wants as well. It’s challenging to tell what is a need and what is a want. Let’s just look at the differences between these two because it’s very important to distinguish them.
A need is something we as a human must have to stay alive. Not only physically alive but spiritually alive as well. So, physically, the needs we have are air, water, shelter, food, touch. And those aren’t all but those are the big ones. Spiritually and emotionally are nurturing, compassion, feeling safe, we need trust in our life, we need validation, we need people around us who are honest and that we’re honest with them, we need to be responsible, and have humility. All those things equate to love.
A want is everything else that is not a need. The list of physical wants is endless, and spiritual and emotional wants as well. There are also physical needs that though you may not be able to meet for yourself (like, not indefinitely but because of the circumstances) like if I was in an accident and I wasn’t able to move out of my bed I would need someone to help my physically, but as I healed, I’d be able to move after that. You’re still responsible to meet those needs, but you need to ask for assistance. Like I said, I need to ask somebody to help me. Not demand it, but ask and see if someone’s available to give it to you. Regardless of the response you receive from others, you can always meet and be responsible for the spiritual and emotional needs of oneself. And if you need more spiritual and emotional support, you can ask others if they know how to give it, if they know how to validate and share compassion with you.
Wants are oftentimes misconstrued as needs because the line between the two has been blurred for so long inside my head. My wants are not necessary to hav,e yet wants are important to attain because they can lend to feelings of happiness, joy, and love.
Listen to what I said. Those things or wants can feel like happiness, joy, and love. Feel—not be—but feel that way. Yet as adults we are responsible to fulfill our own wants and if we aren’t capable of fulfilling them, it is absolutely appropriate to ask for assistance from someone else who can provide them for us with the understanding that we are not entitled to our wants and that any person or entity may decline our request or not provide for our wants for a myriad of reasons. And thus we’re then responsible to be gracious towards them and not react or feel entitled to have them met.
[00:28:35] Taking Things Personal
Right here is an important crossroads, and that is learning how to not take things personal. Taking things personally is the greatest setup any of us could ever walk into. What that means is that to take anything personal is to react to a distortion. The distortion or distorted belief that someone or something has power over you in some way to make you be or cause you to feel something or somehow—like they’re making you (fill in the blank). They’re making you angry, they’re making you sad, they’re making you feel unloved. When I ask for my wants or my needs to be met and someone declines that for whatever reason, it’s really easy to take that personal. And what that means is I go into shame, that’s why it’s a setup. So, you need to be wise and don’t take things personal that people do. It is not the Truth. It is not even possible. No matter what is being hurled your direction, it is not possible that someone has the power to make you feel something.
It is not possible, because each of has the inalienable rights as a human being to choose. To choose how we feel, to choose how and what we’ll think, to choose how we will behave, to choose how we will react or respond to things, to choose what we will believe or not believe. Everything presented to us are opportunities to exercise free will and choice, even though there are many times or experiences in our life where and when someone is exercising their choice to do harm, or control, or engage in inappropriate behavior, and its outcomes are affecting you. Even then, still you have the power inside you to choose how you will hold the experience, how you will frame the experience.
So, in Reality, there is no need to take anything or anyone personal, and if you are choosing to do so, the outcomes of that particular choice—taking things personal—will create feelings and the illusion that someone or something has control over you. Yet as an adult—I’m talking about adults here, I’m not talking about children, because you can control a child—but as an adult, that’s never the case. It never has been the case. It never will be the case. And be grateful that that is the Truth. And thank goodness that no one or nothing has that kind of power over you.
[00:31:07] Shifting Out of The Illusion of Control
How do you stop the illusion that someone or something has power over you, from having such a hold on you? It is such a common perception that someone or something can make me feel a particular way, yet that’s just not the case. And so, the best and most powerful mechanism to begin changing this illusion is to think before you react.
- Thinking will cause you to have time to ponder over the facts of whatever just transpired and then gather correct information as to make an informed decision—versus an uninformed decision with inaccurate information.
- Thinking will cause you to have an opportunity to use your power of choice to choose rightly and correctly according to the information you’ve gathered. Not choose impulsively.
- Thinking will cause you to have appreciation for all the motives, all the intentions of others, their fear, their shame, their reactions to their emotions of them and also you. So after you thought through this experience, and the intentions, and motives of both people (you and the other person) you are now ready to language—to speak correctly and accurately—about the motives and intentions of both parties being involved or ask questions about their motives. Being able to use correct language, and accurate words, ideas, and information is so key to understanding oneself and others.
When I just react or choose to take things personal, I go into shame. I cannot see clearly what is actually happening, and what I’m actually dealing with which is someone else’s distortion, or denial, or blame, their victim thinking, their fear, their anger, their resentments. Or even my distortion, blame, anger, resentments, entitlements. If I don’t recognize that or when I do recognize that, it gives me information, gives me accurate information and therefore it is massively critical that I practice not taking things personal, because when I do I get so confused.
Now, that is extremely difficult to do, it will take a lifetime to practice not taking things personal, this is not something you just practice for a week and you’ve got it. This is an everyday, all day experience. And because we’re living on planet Earth, it always presents itself—always—the opportunity to take things personal or not.
As you practice not taking things personal you will experience new opportunities to see yourself, see your surroundings, your relationships to others—all of your world view will change if you are willing to practice this one change which is, do not personalize life, people, experiences. Practicing “life isn’t personal” which means what transpires in my life is not there to persecute, hurt, offend, insult, harm, or do any kind of personal damage to me.
Does it affect me? Do the things that happen in my life affect me? Yes, they do, but they are not happening to me personally to harm me. The experiences you are having are happening because of one of three things. Life is a mixture of 1) outcomes of your own choices, 2) outcomes from others’ choices, and 3) outcomes from natural experiences, or disasters, or unexplainable tragedies or issues. None of which are personal. It is I who, through my distortion, through my shame, make it personal and then I begin to continue the distortion inside myself and in my life, which then affects everyone I interact with.
If I choose to continue thinking, reacting emotionally, impulsively, and believing someone or something is making me feel some way, then I will behave compulsively, I will react and be compulsive and impulsive. I will be caught in an addictive cycle. I will not be in control of myself because I am choosing to react to my experiences, my feelings, my thoughts, my behaviors. Everything is reactionary and compulsive to those distortions that someone is doing something to me or something is controlling me. I will be in significant distortion and illusion, believing that what I am feeling, thinking, and perceiving is all real, and accurate, and the Truth.
My choices from that position will be skewed and off because I can’t find the Truth and Reality when I take things personal. I can’t find the Truth and Reality when I am feeling and acting like a victim. I can’t find the Truth and Reality when I have resentments, or I’m blaming, or I’m living in codependency, or feeling afraid, or being fearful, or feeling or acting entitled, or retaliating, or having anger towards myself or another, I’m acting selfishly. I can’t see Truth and Reality when I’m in those things.
If I do choose to take another person’s choices or actions personal, I will immediately move into codependency and away from interdependency. If you want more information about codependency you can go to another podcast that I have on here and learn about it, but when I go into personalization everything gets messed up. I cannot be responsible to care for myself when I’m in codependency, when I’m in shame. I must choose which lens or perspective I’m going to look through: either in my shame lens which means taking things personal, or acknowledging that life happens, people do things, and none of it is really personal.
One choice is free, and honest, and without hidden motives. And the other is full of fear, insecurity, and false reality. It’s our responsibility to know the difference and engage with self and others in Truth and honesty.
A lot to think about. Self-care is at the center of all of this. Learning how to love, and care, and be kind, and gracious to yourself is at the center of a happy and joyous lifestyle. Self-care is not only about relaxing and taking care of your physical self, it is also about being accountable for your expectations, your perceptions, how you feel, what you think, how you behave, how you choose. That’s probably one of the biggest pieces because it’s much easier to take care of one’s body. Some people might go, “No, that’s not easy. I’m having a hard time taking care of my physical body.” It is more challenging to take care of your spiritual body because we like to blame, and stay in resentment, and to gossip, and to retaliate, and go into victim, and withhold, and to punish, and claim that people are not caring for me. But the Truth is, is that when you really love yourself, it doesn’t include those things. It’s all about you and how you will stay inside your integrity, be compassionate towards yourself, reframe your shame—because you are a separate being and therefore you’re free to use your agency to respond anyway you wish. Being caring towards yourself and learning to not get caught in these situations, being able to forgive people truly and completely will help you move forward. Being able to acknowledge and repent of infractions and harm you’ve done to either self or someone else, completely and thoroughly, and move on.
These kinds of choices, to acknowledge how you show up and how you might have harmed another person and forgive, are so important to self-care. Being able to engage in this manner with self and others is a quintessential act for loving oneself.
My hope and my desire for you is that you will think about these principles, that you will start applying these principles to your life, and just notice how different you feel about yourself. I mean, yes, you do need to care for yourself physically, and just as important, and I would say even more important, you must for your spirit.
Take care of yourselves, love yourselves, practice these principles of living in integrity, and until next week, I will be thinking about you and hoping that you will live a life of connection.
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See the following materials for more in-depth study of the topics in this podcast: