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The first and most important step in self-care is showing up for ourselves.

A few years back, when I moved back to Istanbul on my own I had no way of knowing what would happen next. I only knew that one part of my life had ended and another was about to begin. And for the first time in my life, I had no answers or at least the answers were no longer good enough. So I decided, as Rilke suggests, to live the questions and to use the time I had when I wasn’t working to write.

What I didn’t realise then was that I, like the caterpillar, had reached a point in my life where I felt the need to respond to a deeper urge. An urge to dissolve old patterns and beliefs and discover what lay beyond them. And this required faith, trust and courage in what, at that time, was ambiguous.

By taking the leap of faith and trusting my intuition, what I was actually doing was showing up for myself despite all the uncertainty that surrounded me.

What does it mean to show up for ourselves?

Showing up for ourselves means listening to our intuition and trusting the answers. If I hadn’t trusted that my healing lay in confronting my fears, I would not have discovered that I was capable of so much more than what my feelings and thoughts would have liked me to believe.

I learned then that my thoughts and feelings weren’t a reflection of my circumstances but a reflection of my internal state and that they came in waves and were transient. I taught myself to ride the waves instead of trying to contain them.

That year I taught myself so much and I grew out of what was keeping me small. Not only did I learn to ride the ways of my feelings without identifying completely with them, but I also learned how to live on my own, how to ask for what I needed and how to give myself the space to honour those needs. If I hadn’t trusted that urge, I wouldn’t have blossomed into the life I have now.

What set this journey apart from other journey’s I had taken was intentionality. The caterpillar intentionally finds and creates the space in which its butterfly-self will unfold. It goes into a state of ambiguity trusting the process.

Stopping whatever is happening in our lives and asking ourselves what we need and then finding ways to support these needs – even if it means embracing ambiguity – is an important part of self-care.

The ambiguity I’m facing at the moment is not really knowing where our new ‘forever’ home will be. It’s not that there aren’t options, I’m just not willing to settle for anything less than feels right for the both of us. Just a few days ago I received a good job offer in Prague, a city I know well and in which I have many friends but in the end, I turned it down. It would have been easy just to accept it but it just didn’t feel right for what we, my husband and I, knew we needed to grow at this point in our lives.

Remaining steadfast amid ambiguity isn’t easy. One thing that makes it easier is being clear on your values and intentionally aligning your actions to those values. I’m lucky that my husband and I have shared values so we are easily able to weigh our decisions against these and no matter what I know my husband supports me 100% to do what feels right so that makes embracing ambiguity that much easier.

So for now I’m continuing to trust the ambiguity and let’s see what unfolds.

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