I love puzzles. Just your typical, however many pieces, jigsaw puzzle. I have not attempted a puzzle in quite sometime. I opened one tonight. And I love it, of course! Why have I not done a puzzle in so long? Because learning how to provide self-care without guilt is hard.
I have gone my entire life putting so much effort into others that it never occurred to me that I was neglecting the most important person in my life: me. Roughly six months ago I made an uncomfortable decision to seek counseling(right around when I broke my jaw!). I wanted to get a hold of my emotions because I was causing destruction in many aspects of my life. I have always felt uncomfortable in counseling. I was in counseling during my teenage years. I struggled with my emotions way back then. I struggled so much so that I began acting out of desperation. Desperation led me to self-harm.
There it is. A whopper from my past. I used to cut myself. And no, its not like you think. I didn’t understand what I was doing. I just knew that I felt so intensely. So explosively. So all-consuming. I couldn’t keep it in and I didn’t know how to let it out so I caused myself pain. The pain was a distraction. The pain was the downer my psyche needed.
If only I had known then what I know now. It is okay to feel. It is okay to experience emotions. I was taught to hide your feelings. I was shown and treated as if emotions made you weak. There was no crying allowed. We weren’t even allowed to sniffle or cough at night. We had plastic on our mattresses for, like, ever to keep them new and weren’t even allowed to move cause if the beds made noise, we could get in trouble.
The only sort of self-care I was shown growing up was to drink it all away. Scream it all out. Blast the music, get drunk, and lash out. But on this journey of self-discovery I am on I am learning that it is time to re-program my thoughts and beliefs. It is time to throw out all the pieces that no longer fit. And self-care is just another piece of the puzzle.
Taking the time to work on a puzzle is a positive form of self-care. And I am so glad I trusted my gut and opened this puzzle tonight.
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Photo taken from: https://shutteredintentions.wordpress.com/2012/08/19/continental-puzzle/