Self-Care: To Soothe or Transform – That Is the Question

For a number of years the words “self care” has been used a lot to refer to taking care of oneself and not extending one’s reach of activities (especially while being consumed by the needs of others) so broadly that he or she has little to no time to take care of themselves.

What is self-care?

Let me give you some examples of different kinds of self-care I’ve done through the years.

  • When I was being bullied, chased and beaten up at school, I took care of myself. I stayed home from school for three months, frightened for my own physical safety. That’s self-care.

  • Once the bullying was over, I spent twenty years in addiction trying to push down the painful and scary feelings of the bullying and other traumas (there were quite a few). Those years of using drugs were a version of self-care because no one knew now to make the pain go away. Drugs and alcohol did the job. Although they were short term fixes, it's better than suffering with intense trauma having no way out of it. They worked. Period.

  • When I hit rock bottom and went into recovery, that was self care.

  • Once the drugs and alcohol went away, being around people felt uncomfortable. So I would leave parties and gatherings. I was taking care of myself.

  • I eventually left the 12 step program because my trauma was not being healed in that program. That’s self-care.

But all of the above is how we take care of ourselves before we learn about rest and inquiry. With rest and inquiry we take care of ourselves in a different way by using the process of the Kiloby Inquiries to unravel and dissolve the core pain. Yes, we let life happen. The traumas happen. The bullying, The painful relationships. The dead end jobs. The addictions. But now instead of just trying to find ways of distracting ourselves or bypassing this pain, rest and inquiry can unravel it.

Those first four self-care examples above are not truly transformative. They help you cope in the short term. Actually delving skillfully with the Kiloby Inquiries is an excellent way to transform out of the suffering caused by these earlier and ongoing triggers in our lives.

When we use rest and inquiry, we are not trying to forget about what happened. We can’t anyway. But what we can do is undo the painful connection between the thoughts of these earlier events or behaviors with the emotions or sensation stuck to them. We call this undoing the Velcro Effect. When that happens, we transform. We move beyond and truly let go of the pain we have been trying to sooth. Soothing pain with all these new age relaxation techniques you hear about do just that – they relax the central version system. It’s like a short band aid fix. Come try the Kiloby Inquiries and see what the real end of suffering is like. That’s true self care in the deepest sense.

Watch this video of me (Scott Kiloby) helping Dianne, a client, transform her beyond her suffering rather than just soothing her.

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