The last few months I’ve become an expert at giving myself comfort and TLC as I move through new levels in life and business.
Life and career transitions are always accompanied by growing pains.
What I’ve learned about myself is that I don’t want to manage my challenges, I want to master them.
To do that I need to first understand myself and my capacity to handle things.
Do I handle family issues better than money ones? Is business easier than matters of the heart? Who helps me get back up versus makes me feel like crap? What gives me hope?
When I know myself, I feel more confident to handle what life throws at me, because even though I depend on others, at the end of the day I go to bed with myself.
My fears. My habits. My tendencies.
Comfort comes in because I’m no longer a Samurai – my constitution isn’t built for harsh lessons or tough love like it used to be. Been there, done that. I used to push a lot, but “hit life back harder” doesn’t do much for me in the middle of a storm anymore.
Because how do I hit life back exactly? And with what instrument?
What I’ve learned about myself is that mastery comes from an equal degree of hard-earned lessons AND self-love. My progress depends on my ability to know what makes me feel strong and safe and what brings me relief.
So I’ve spent the last decade cultivating how to bring myself relief, comfort, and peace because obstacles arise no matter how many times I think I’ve knocked it out of the park.
I’ve had the freakouts.
Dark nights. Depression so big I couldn’t find my way out. When my grandma died. “Figuring out” my career. Professional nightmares come true. That time when heartbreak ruled my world. When I had $50 to my name. When my business failed and I felt like a giant loser.
We’ve all dug really deep, right? Gut-level digging that’s required us to get into a new state of mind, to get courage, to break old habits and beliefs.
Comfort helps us trust ourselves. When we give ourselves what we need (or at least know how), even at rock bottom, we realize our capacity to handle what life throws at us. Whatever the pain, we’re able to command resources, inspiration, and hope when we most need it.
It starts by knowing yourself and what brings you comfort.
Knowing how to comfort myself has saved my life on some occasions. It’s not just necessary, it’s life-saving.
Here’s my list of what brings me comfort. I want to share it so you can see how to use comfort as a tool (not to be lazy or complacent or indulgent as many people wrongly believe.) It’s not outside yourself to get what you need; it’s closer than you think.
I wrote these in my journal (and continue to) to notice what gives me space – it’s my record of self-trust and self-knowing and it’s that important.
- Turning OFF technology. Going back to my hands & manual labor.
- No TV or consuming anything digital in the moments I have free time.
- Writing in my journal. Writing period.
- Smelling essential oils. I used to snicker at essential oils but now I love them.
- Candles, soft light.
- Sunlight on my face. Basking in it any moment I can.
- Soft warm, blankets, socks, slippers, robe. SOFT everything. When the world feels hard, I crave soft.
- Heat: any kind of hot water, hot air (even a blow dryer on my hands), moving hot water like in a whirlpool, steam room.
- Crying hot tears. Crying period.
- Lots of space and time devoted to ME. Reveling in it and not feeling guilty about it no matter what people think.
- Humor. Kevin Hart. Louis CK. VEEP. Yo Mama jokes. Whatever it takes.
- Natural, wild world, especially being next to the ocean.
- Animals. Animals over people.
- Children’s literature and comic books. The Maggie B and Archie.
- Being taken care of and attended to. Bonus if by elderly women. There’s nothing like a wise older women who knows how to touch and care for you in her bones.
- Staying with my feelings instead of filling the space.
- Being touched, scrubbed, massaged. There’s a reason people enjoy being “kissed” by the sun and roughed up by the ocean. It’s powerful to be physically moved by nature.
- Wanting to be led and letting things unfold. In a recent trip to San Diego, instead of correcting mistakes and telling people they were late and I was busy, I didn’t fix or explain. I let things unfold and was rewarded by feeling calm and relaxed.
- My golden books. I have an arsenal of books to help certain moments, but Women who Run with the Wolves, Start where you are and Journey to the Heart are classics. They’re worth a million bucks to me.
- Birds chirping and singing. It uplifts me in a huge way.
- Lots of hot tea with milk. Bonus if sipped outside with a cool breeze.
- Being in a new environment like Chinatown or a new city. I feel curious like Indiana Jones, full of possibility. When I see things I’ve never seen before, I get excited. New magical experiences are the lifeblood of me feeling strong again.
- Not talking to humans. Unless I know them well and they understand ME deeply, I don’t ask for opinions. I’ll call one to two friends who’ve demonstrated they get me, but otherwise, I don’t talk much.
- Communication overall. A few times when I’ve needed clarity, I stopped all phone, email, text, and it was very helpful. No need to add more noise to the noise.
- No social obligations or pressure to meet them. On any given day, there are ten things to do with people you genuinely want to do them with. Sometimes it feels too much so in already vulnerable moments, I say no to all.
- Church bells on the hour.
If you’re going through pain right now, bring some relief to yourself by creating your own list of comfort; it will make you feel better. If you feel grief or stuckness, I’m writing this for you.
All we want is comfort in the moments when the pain is too much.
We want you to keep breathing. Whatever method works for you is what we’re looking for.
What comfort will you give yourself today? Do you need it? Are you pushing yourself to hit life back when you just need to love yourself up and then take on the world? I know I can’t have one without the other. Leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me what you’ll do to comfort yourself today. It’s THAT important.
With much love,
Ishita Gupta is an entrepreneur, speaker, and business breakthrough strategist. Building her business from zero to multiple six-figures in one year, Ishita helps entrepreneurs get the confidence they need to run their businesses like a Pro. Her programs help business owners lay foundations to make money, create systems to increase productivity, sell with confidence, and do high-impact marketing that gets results. Ishita speaks at conferences around the U.S. on entrepreneurship and leadership, including World Domination Summit, TEDx Detroit, Columbia University, and more. You can also follow Ishita on Twitter.
Image Courtesy of Beverley Goodwin