When Self-Care Hurts

Sometimes the things we do to take care of ourselves are going to hurt. Sometimes they’re going to hurt like Hell. As long as they are healthy and truly rooted in self-care, do them anyway.

Yesterday, I may have taken my self-care routine a little too far but opportunities presented themselves and I took them. I went to aerial yoga in the morning (exhilarating), then a two hour hip opening yoga class in the afternoon, and then a cuddle party in the evening. All of these things both helped and “hurt” me in different ways. This morning my body is sore from all the yoga. It hurts now but in the moment I was completely blissed out. My mind was calm. I felt the emotions, acknowledged them, and let them float away. I am letting myself be transformed by something I know might lead to hurt but that will make me better in the long run.

The cuddle party is something similar but different. I obviously didn’t experience physical pain because of it; more discomfort. I had never been to a cuddle party before, as I imagine most people haven’t. It was particularly out of my comfort zone because I generally don’t like people touching me, especially not strangers. But I thought, what the hell, it’s a new experience. So, I went. The woman I have been dating was with me so I had someone safe to cuddle with but I knew that to fully embrace the experience I’d have to be open to the idea of letting someone else in on the cuddles. Not that I had to say “yes” but that I needed to at least be open.

Had there not been such strict rules and guidelines around the cuddles I would have said a resounding “hell no!” But the way it was… well, it made it safer. So I did it… I consented to being cuddled by another person, someone who wasn’t my date. It was uncomfortable but not unsafe. There wasn’t anything sexual about it, just people showing other people affection. I realize that by opening myself up to that momentary discomfort I have given myself something. I have given myself the power to choose when to say “yes” and when to say “no.” And maybe by saying yes I gave something to someone else, too. Maybe my co-cuddler gained something from that human contact.

I think life is meant to be that way: the good and the not so good and everything in between. I think that’s how healing goes. It’s likes I said in How Healing Hurts sometimes healing just isn’t going to feel good. When we exercise, we break down those muscles and build them back up. When healing from mental illness sometimes it takes breaking down the walls to build ourselves back up. Sometimes it means letting go of people we have grown close to, admitting that they’re causing more harm in our lives than good, acknowledging that it might not be anyone’s fault but it still hurts like Hell, having to let go. Sometimes healing means confronting hard truths about ourselves and no one likes that. Sometimes it means facing brutal memories that make us feel like we would rather be dead  than alive. Sometimes it really does mean going back to a pre-verbal place of really not knowing if what we feel will be lethal. But in knowing that healing sometimes hurts, in knowing that the hurt will always pass, we can get through those memories and feelings. We can do the hard things we need to do in order to be okay.

7 thoughts on “When Self-Care Hurts

  1. Well put! As I was running yesterday, I laughed to myself at how something so good for me could make my chest burn so much. It’s a necessary pain. We stumble through the pain blindly, hoping for relief. It can be so worth the reward of it though. I am still working on accepting that healing may mean some emotional pain. Seems counterproductive, but I know rationally it is not.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Good for you. I have not heard of these either. I’m not a cuddler even when I am comfortable. How long did it last? Are there certain people that put these on or was it a friend who threw it together?


    1. There are people who are certified cuddlists; they throw these parties. There is about 45 minutes of talk on consent and boundaries and getting to know one another. Then about 2 hours for the party.

      Liked by 1 person

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