Meeting Shanti was like (friend) love at first side. She told me instantly: “We should work together!” I could only think: “hell yeah!”. The next time we met it felt like we knew each other for years. Shanti is an inspiration for many of us. You will read why in this interview.
Shanti, was there a specific moment in your life
when you felt self-care is very important?
“I was spiritually raised and I thought I knew how to take good care of myself. At the same time I believed in romantic fairy tales, a few years ago I thought I found the love of my life, my soulmate. I lost myself in the love story I told myself. This love story ended in a terrible family drama. I lost my eleven month old son, my ex and his mother on the same day. That day was the day I realized I had to connect with myself, to feel what I needed, to give love and hugs to myself. I asked myself hundred times a day: “how do I feel?”, “what do I need?” Now, I really learned how to take care of myself. I transformed my loss into self-love and I decided to inspire others by writing my book ‘De kracht van zelfliefde’ (The Power of Self-love).”
What does taking care of yourself mean to you?
“Self-care to me is all about acceptance. If I have an off-day I can have an off-day. I used to tell myself I needed to be happy and feel good all the time. Now I accept what I feel and I do anything in order to be with that emotion. How I do this? I recognize my feelings, I allow myself to feel them, but I don’t feed them. Feel contains the ‘L’ of letting go, feed contains the ‘D’ of drama. You need to get to know the difference between feeling and feeding and act upon this.”
“Self-care also means to be disciplined. I want to meditate daily, this enables me to connect with myself, to stay focused and to be present. I don’t always feel like meditating or I tell myself I don’t have time to do it, but I know what it brings into my life. So am disciplined in my daily meditations.”
“A third one is to enjoy life! It sometimes feels like we are not allowed to feel good, be happy, feel beautiful, which is so funny, because that is what we all long for. So enjoy!”
What do you do when you feel the need to take care of yourself?
“It starts with the acceptance of my emotions, to feel them and to let the emotions out. There needs to be some space to let your emotions out to. Letting them out, in whatever way works for you means that you let go. I observe my thoughts, and look if they serve me or not. If our emotions are fed by certain thoughts, I challenge myself to have new thoughts. Meditation is a great tool in order to observe my thoughts and to feel my presence. Other then that, dancing, singing and seeing my friends is also part self-care during a bad day.”
What is your TCOYS tip to other people?
“Take care of yourself in every moment means that it changes. Get your attention from your head to your body. Ask yourself questions like: “what do I feel?”, “what do I need?”. And act upon that, be honest to yourself and listen to your feelings. Your body is so wise.”
“Maybe more important: Listen to your own intuition and to your feeling. Don’t get lost into what other people, theories or gurus tell you. You always know better, you are your own guide. Reading books, listening to podcasts and going to workshops should serve you as inspiration but don’t let it rule your life.”
Shanti Schiks is an author of 2 books. After a big loss intelligence made her go within. Watch her Ted-x talk on YouTube on Shanti Schiks.