Build yourself a sanctuary and build your self-esteem
Where do you go when you want some me-time?
Your bedroom, study, sofa? Is it a shared space or a special place just for you? Is it beautiful or a bit on the shabby side? Is it tidy or cluttered? You can see where this is going…
Recently I’ve had the urge to create myself a sanctuary, a spot in my garden where I can enjoy a moment alone, with zero tech flashing and beeping around me. My logic is this. If I have a designated zone, purpose-built for relaxation, then there’s a good chance I’ll use it — and for it’s intended purpose.
As a phrase it’s rather trite, I do agree. I think we’re all a bit sick of seeing it slapped across our bath bombs and our teas. As a concept however, it’s got legs. When we give ourselves the time we need to rest, ponder and be in our own rhythm, we connect with our intuition, which never fails to tell us what we need to hear. We have gut feelings about so many different aspects of our lives: our relationships, our next move, what we could do with more of, less of etc — and yet we miss them all when we live on auto-pilot.
We buy self-help books and try all sorts of expensive therapies to try and solve our problems. Often it is simply creating the time and space to think, and just breathe, that makes the most difference. That and being honest with ourselves, and having the balls to follow through on the insights that arise within, but I digress… What I want you to take away is this… Looking inwards really does improve our quality of life, and it’s a damn sight easier when we’ve got some peace and privacy to do it.
So get building your sanctuary. If you’re sold on the benefits, why wouldn’t you?
Building a sanctuary requires SERIOUS self esteem…
…and not everyone has it. Here’s a list of thoughts that crossed my mind as I began planning mine:
- Should I make sure my sanctuary is a place that other people will think looks nice — so they can spend time there too?
- I won’t spend time building my sanctuary until my regular house chores are all done…
- I won’t build it on weekends because that’s the time I reserve for my partner & family…
- Maybe I won’t bother building a sanctuary because I won’t use it anyway, I’m too busy with work and life admin.
- Should I spend my money on something else? Something more sensible? Something that benefits more people than just me?
- Who exactly do I think I am anyway? Isn’t it a bit ‘diva’ to have your own sanctuary?
Oh how easy it is to talk ourselves out of doing the things we know are good for us, things we might actually really enjoy. I’m delighted to tell you I caught every single one of these sneaky little thoughts and sent them packing.
Of course I need a sanctuary. I’m a woman in wellness, preaching self-care left right and centre, and I intend to walk the walk.
Ting! The penny drops!
- When are the house chores ever all done? Even when you’re on top of things, isn’t there always something?
- Yes, I do reserve weekends for the important people in my life... important people like me.
- How much money is ‘too much’ if you can afford to kit out your sanctuary and it makes your soul sing? Can you put a price on feeling good?
An image comes to mind of another ‘woman in wellness’ I met a few years ago. I remember she carried an expensive handbag, and I also remember thinking it looked wrong on someone who was ‘supposed to be spiritual’ — jarring somehow standing next to all our hemp-clad friends.
Looking back today I get it. She could afford a luxury bag and it made her feel good. It’s that simple. Did her abundance take anything away from anyone else? No. Did feeling deserving of the best mean she believed she was better than others? Not necessarily. And finally, did treating herself in any way undermine her role as someone who helps and supports others? Of course not.
Turns out it was me who was the spiritual phoney that day, judging her Dolce and Gabbana. Classic projection, but I digress…
Build a sanctuary for the person you WANT to be
Even if you don’t have bags of self-esteem just yet, hold the intention to have more and create your sanctuary for future you. It’s a fast-track to becoming who you want to be. If there are good habits you want to acquire, even if you doubt you’ll keep them up, your sanctuary is the perfect place to start planting those seeds. For example:
- If you’d like to practice gratitude more often, keep a pen and post-its in your sanctuary so you can scribble down one thing you’re grateful for each day.
- If you want to educate yourself on a topic, keep a book or two in your space (and try to pick it up from time to time!)
Fake it ’til you make it my friends, because in faking it you become it.
But don’t forget the me-time
Cultivating good habits is all well and good, but don’t lose sight of the true purpose of a sanctuary. A sanctuary is a refuge, a place where you can come and know that no demands will be put upon you. That includes all of the demands that you put upon yourself yourself, to be a little more like this, a lot more like that etc. The essence of self-esteem is thinking and feeling lovingly towards yourself exactly as you are today.
If you find this hard I want you to picture a baby, just a few days old. Imagine its fragile little limbs, fingers and toes. Notice how you feel towards it, warm and fuzzy maybe, protective perhaps. If the baby’s not working for you try a puppy or a micro pig… There you go :)
Now take stock. This baby — human or otherwise — has zero skills or accolades. It isn’t smart or witty. It hasn’t got a love-life, nor is it a snappy dresser, and yet we love it as is. Just it’s being here is enough… a miracle in fact. Just because you’re older, doesn’t mean the same’s not true for you.
It absolutely is.