This is the tenth in a series of articles and shows about self-care.
Self-care and rebellion are intimately linked. If we’ve ever promised ourself the moon, healthier habits or happier choices, only to be tripped up by our inner rebel and fell into a physical, mental or emotional ditch, this article is for us.
To watch this week’s article with additional, bonus content on the Will You Grow Show, please click here and subscribe to the show here.
What is a rebel?
A rebel is a person who rises in opposition and/or resistance against something or someone perceived as having power over them. Many of us may relate to being a rebel at some point in our life. Poignant times may come to mind as we think of someone, or a group of people, who have or had power over us, such as: our parents, teachers, religious and/or governmental figures.
An example and story.
At a young age, too young to remember, my inner rebel wanted the rules of my parental governing body to make sense. My rebel had good intentions—it wanted to create a (seemingly simple) world where rules made things better for everyone. A world where “Just because,” was neither a sentence, nor an answer. Unfortunately, by rebelling against my parent’s rules, I made no change in the government. Instead, I spent hours of my childhood facing a wall, plotting how to change my parents and my circumstance. While I waited for “time out” to be over, in my fear of rebelling so much that I would lose my parents or get kicked out before I could afford to leave, my inner rebel created a mask to wear, to make my experience feel easier and safer.
My inner rebel protected me by creating a mask of hope.
I hoped that someday, people and things would “get better.” That someday, people would understand what I was saying and would be interested the “simple” life for which I longed. I hoped that my parents would want to grow and learn new ways of being with me. Although my hope-filled mask acted like a sort of helium balloon to airlift me out of feelings of despair, it wasn’t until many years later that I was able to see how detrimental, damaging and limiting my hopeful mask of rebellion was to my own soul’s growth.
Waiting with hope = waiting on happiness.
My mask made me hope that somewhere, out there, people existed who would not be limited in their mindset to answers that made no sense. So I searched. And what I found, in my experience, was more people like my parents, who limited themselves. So, my inner rebel would kick in, start to rebel against those people’s limitations, while also hoping that they would grow and change. And this kept me stuck into my 40s, in close relationships with people who were not interested in personal growth. Since this was all I ever knew, it seemed normal. I’m not saying all hope is bad, however, for me, hope kept me in life-threatening, unhappy circumstances, because my inner rebel said that through hope and faith, other people would change.
When rebellion goes bad.
Rebellion goes bad when we can see the limitation in others, but we can’t see the limitation in our own mask, or even that we are wearing one.
Have you met your inner rebel?
Although my inner rebel worked for me as a child, as an adult, my rebel became a serious and nearly deadly limitation. So, what about your inner rebel? What does it do for you? And how is it working against your soul’s greater good?
What’s your rebel’s cause?
We may feel the need to rebel against what we think is injustice. It might be as simple as us thinking, “I’ve had a long and hard day, too hard in fact. I think I’ll rebel against the injustice of my day. I will reward myself by doing something that is deadly and hurtful to me and the people who love me. I will binge on sugars and fats, overdrink, smoke, stare at a TV, get angry or violent. I will watch porn and have many partners because I need something that’s for me, I need me time, I need to know that I am ok.” These things may also titillate or numb us so we can’t feel the pain of our own criticism and judgment of ourself and life, for a while. Though we may do only one, or a small portion of any of those things, each thing in and of itself, can still be poisonous and deadly.
A cause worth fighting for.
At some point, I had to ask myself, what am I fighting for? As a partner in my 30s once said to me, “You’re helping people who don’t want to be helped.” Back then, my cause was hope and change in others. Now, my cause is hope and change within myself. And I find this cause worthwhile and worth sharing.
Rebels may fight the love they seek.
When we argue with a spouse or people from whom we seek love, how much love do we get from that interaction? When we eat a box of donuts in the unconscious hope of feeling full of sweet love, even for a moment, how much love to we actual feel? When we overwork ourself into sickness, longing for the safety and security that only love can provide, how much love do we experience? After getting to know, accepting and loving my inner rebel and whole soul, and after many years as a spiritual advisor, I have seen that the answer to the question, “How much love do we receive from those choices made by our inner rebel?” is none! The inner rebel always gets the short end of the stick, always gets left out, always feels bad. And this, in turn, feeds the rebel’s need to continue making the same, rebellious choices.
What can we do with our rebel?
I’m not saying to hell with our rebel, it’s already been through enough hell already. Because for me, life without real love is the worst kind of hell. And hey, our inner rebel can be kind of fun and beneficial. Because at the heart of the rebel, is the search and need for love. So, rather than making a devil out of our rebel, rather than demonizing our need for love that manifests itself as addiction, let’s find a healthy way to experience love.
Giving my inner rebel a makeover.
I exchanged rebellion for acceptance and courage. I quit waiting for any man or anyone to “wake up,” “catch up,” or learn that self-care, also known as soul-care and personal growth, is not only important for vitality, joy and interest in life, it is also required to be in a close relationship with me. Because any man or anyone who doesn’t want to love and care for their own soul as the treasure that it is, expects their mate, friend or family to do it for him—whether he or she is consciously aware of this or not. Our souls are not made to give up our truth and best so we can enable another adult to not care for themself. I am no longer a mommy and arm candy for adult male rebels. I am no longer a concierge to the needs of my family. And this is right and sound and the strong soul choice I make for me.
The healthiest way to rebel.
Because we may not understand our inner rebel and what it needs, it may simply behave in ways to get some attention for a while—even if the attention is negative. When we know better, we can see that rebellion is a way to try to feel loved. And when we see that the ways we’ve been using, like food and drugs, actual kill us, we can accept that there are better ways that we can love ourself, and for a longer period of time. So what can we do to morph our rebel without love into a rebel for love?
Self-care for rebels.
The way to reformation, revolution, love and joy, is self-care. Below are seven steps, which may be done in any order, doing one or all steps, as we are ready. No need to push the inner rebel too far … just far enough :-O.
- Say “Right on little rebel.” For me, this means I accept the rebel as myself. As an adult, it does me no good to hide behind a mask of hope or wish for things to be different. Instead, I can accept when people do not want to grow, and change my direction.
- Say “I accept my rebel as myself.” Not a demon or devil, my rebel is simply a part of me that has needed real love for a very long time.
- Say, “I notice and accept when I feel resistance.” Because I felt resistant so often, I believed that feeling resistant was normal. For me, I needed to begin to recognize that resistance is the language of rebellion. I needed to notice the feeling of resistance inside my body. Now, when I notice the feeling of irritation, pressure or heat within my body that is common for me when I experience resistance, I remind myself that I accept the resistance, rather than pushing against it. And then, ironically, the resistance will pass, and transformation occurs.
- Say, “I accept that I need love.” For me this was a big step, because I didn’t want to admit that I needed anything, not even needing something from myself.
- Say, “I learn what makes me feel loved.” Really loved, not the whipped crème dreams kinda stuff. Whipped crème is lovely, but what really makes me feel loved is connection. And I experience connection in ways like being with life in meditation, being in nature, being in heartfelt conversation, expressing my feelings through movement in my body, experiencing a great theatrical performance, and many other ways.
- Ask, “What makes me feel loved?” I found that when I wrote about these items, and my feelings about them, I validated me. I validated my needs, what fulfilled those needs, and ways that I could fulfill them. Writing these items down validated the worthiness of the process and my potential of being fulfilled. When I didn’t write, it was too easy to forget or dismiss the love I sought—which led me to fall into old patterns. (If you’d like extra support to write, knowing that I am there with you, you may be inspired to write in one of the lovely Will You Grow journals.)
- Say, “I plan and do what makes me feel loved, every day.” For me this was so important, because it required me to take action on my own behalf. In the beginning, it was easier for me to learn about what made me feel loved, than to actually allow myself to plan and do those things. I recommend starting small and then taking bigger steps. For me, this meant scheduling non-negotiable breaks and time outside into my phone calendar, for my mental, emotional and physical wellbeing.
If we feel unworthy of self-care and love …
Remember and repeat our three affirmations from the last eight weeks:
- I do matter.
- I am worth knowing.
- I am important.
Rather than rebellious fighting, fleeing, stuffing or drowning ourself to fill the void of not experiencing love …
We can create a safe, inner-place to grow, know and learn. By doing so, we open ourself to new possibilities, neither looking to others, nor leaning on them to teach or help us. Through self-care, we learn to share life and love with others, rather than needing something from them.
I encourage you to know, accept and learn from your inner rebel, to allow you to experience greater love. No one can do this for you, and by doing so, you’ll always know that somebody cares. Let us know how applying today’s concepts works for you in the comments section! We enjoy hearing from you 🙂
We’d love to see you in Knoxville, Tennessee, any Sunday in April for the Will You Grow, Love and Adventure Brunch Series at Knoxville’s Luxury Venue—Ancient Lore Village! Check out the event video for all the delicious details and book your tickets for future fun with us!
Always with love,
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