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Self-Care is about Dignity: Caring for All Our Relations

​​Mental Health Week Blog by Ryan Moyer, FNHA Program Consultant for Mental Health and Wellness ​​

 

​​“May hope forever wipe away your tears,
And, above all, may silence make you strong.”
-Chief Dan George

According to Google, self-care is yoga, meditation and lemon water. Thanks Google but we know that self-care is so much more than that.

Self-care isn't about being self-absorbed—it's about caring for our families, communities, environments, and workplaces. For those of us who don't create routines for self-balancing behaviours (*Ryan puts his hand up), this is an important reality to remember and live.

But what is this 'self' thing we speak of when we say 'self-care'?

For me, self-care is dignity. Self-care is saying what needs to be said – honestly and with respect. Without speaking our truth, we lose our dignity – we lose ourselves. If we don't know our truth, let's not speak. If we do know our truth, let's speak it regardless of outcome. I have colleagues that embody this quality and I aspire to it!

Last November I was fortunate to take part in an overnight ceremony on Vancouver Island. Through song, prayer, medicines, and seated meditation, I had the extreme displeasure of feeling the outcomes of moments in my life when I spoke without dignity—selfishly, aggressively or manipulatively… moments when I spoke without truth.

I re-experienced these moments from a 'third person' viewpoint. I actually felt the pain of losing my dignity—of distorting myself—and the pain it caused others.

The pain was overwhelming … (even compared to sitting in a mangled-lotus position on a dirt floor for 12 hours as a guy whose only form of yoga is vacuuming under his couches).

As the eastern sky began to light up in the morning, it dawned on me:  I need to stretch more. I also realized that, the quality of All our Relations is determined by the quality of our self-care.

I couldn't 'un-do' the moments in my life where my relations became distorted and graceless by undignified speech, but I can recognize these moments as they arise in the future and remind myself that speaking truth is dignity.

Now, for self-care, I'm trying to remember that if I don't know my truth: may silence make me strong.

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