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Self-Care: Sitting with Discomfort

Summer Self-Care Series 2018

Matt Shepherd

Self-care is a practice of sitting with discomfort. It is more than a manicure, a massage, or even therapy and meditation. What lies behind all these acts of self-care that we deem so estimable? Why are these acts so difficult, and at times painful to practice, for some of us? 

The act of self-care is just a kickstart in a whole new way of viewing ourselves and the world around us. In my experience, it’s not the act of self-care that heals, it’s the feelings that arise with it that are healing. My eating disorder was a great way for me to avoid having a real relationship with myself.

Through recovery, I learned that self- care is whatever I need it to be. I started small. The act of choosing one day at a time to abstain from eating disorder behaviors that harmed me physically, emotionally, and spiritually was a start. Through abstaining, I had to sit with really difficult feelings that I never wanted to deal with. I felt insane, out of my mind, and emotionally overwhelmed. I realized that through recovery I was now facing feelings that I never allowed myself to deal with. I was grieving unfelt feelings of anger, loss, and even joy. For me, THAT was self-care. 

Self-care is a willingness to explore what I like and what I don’t like. It means resting when my body calls for it, even though sitting still is uncomfortable. It means getting a haircut, or sometimes spending money on myself. At times, self-care means I express myself vulnerably with my partner or loved ones. Self-care is experimentation, risk-taking, and, above all, exciting.

Learning to “be with myself,” is the experience I have every time I choose self-care. That isn’t easy. 

My experience is this: self-care is about being in the moment with myself and being willing to let go. The more willing I am to have a relationship with myself, the less I need my eating disorder. The more willing I am to connect to myself, the less afraid I am to connect with others. The more care I have for myself, the more available I am to care for others and the world.

 

What up Bruh! Matt Shepherd is an actor, filmmaker, Youtuber, & advocate. He resides in Los Angeles posting regular content for his Youtube Channel and developing other projects. He speaks regularly about issues concerning men with eating disorders and Binge Eating Disorder. Visit Matt's website (www.meetmattshep.com) and connect with him on Social Media @meetmattshep!