“Feelings are much like waves, we can’t stop them from coming but we can choose which one to surf”

Bijgewerkt: 5 nov 2020

The first time I saw Tom was at one of his Wicked Thoughts events. It was a super inspiring evening and I was intrigued by this concept. The second time I saw him, I got the chance to introduce myself, we had a beautiful conversation. I loved his openness, vulnerability and his honest story. I became curious to his view on self-care. We had another wonderful talk which I can share with you! Read his view on self-care and learn from his amazing journey.

Foto: Rachel Ecclestone

Tom, was there a specific moment in your life when you felt self-care is very important?

“That was the day one of my best friends got a brain haemorrhage. Suddenly I became very aware of life, knowing it is not infinite. I decided to change the way I used to live, I didn’t knew what I wanted to do but I found a study that could help me found my mission. I started the one-year study at Knowmads, focused on self-improvement and social entrepreneurship. During that year I also started practicing yoga and went on a vision quest (surviving without food and shelter in nature).”

“I fasted for about four days. Because of the fasting and meditating I had an epiphany the second day, I felt I understood life completely. After this experience I became more and more interested into other spiritual experiences. I also went on a vipassana and then knew, there was no way back to the life I used to live.”

What does taking care of yourself mean to you?

“I choose very consciously what I put in my body and who I surround myself with. This concerns the food I eat, the information I receive (movies I watch, blogs I read) and the people I spend my time with. The last one is really important. I became very aware of the impact of the people I surround myself with. My group of friends changed completely last couple of years. Knowing that you are the average of the five people you hang out with, made me rethink my group of friends. Meditating helps me making conscious choices.”

“Self-care is also about doing the things that bring me joy. I don’t do things anymore because a voice in me says that I have to do it or that I need to live a certain way to earn money.”

What do you do when you feel the need to take care of yourself?

"Certainly in moments of stress or a bad day, we are tempted to skip the things that are good for us. I am very aware of it, so I take a break and I choose what I need in that moment to process that energy. I go for a run, read a book, walk the dog or I sit down on my cushion and meditate. I remind myself that I am allowed to have a bad day, knowing that all will pass. That tomorrow will be a new day where anything is possible.”

What is your TCOYS tip to other people?

“Everybody has negative thoughts (even Buddha and the Dalai Lama), it is up to you if you listen and act upon them. Vipassana taught me that everything will pass. Any emotion will pass, it is like the quote on my wall: “Feelings are much like waves, we can’t stop them from coming but we can choose which one to surf”.

“Remind yourself that all will be okay in the end and talk nicely to yourself in the meantime. Loving yourself is one of the most important tasks you have in your life, practice it daily. Be aware of the people you spend your time with and the energy you allow in your life.”

“A tip for you towards others: if your partner or a friend is having a bad moment, allow them to have that moment. Don’t make it bigger than it is, you don’t always have to talk it over and understand.”

Tom Verstappen is Founder and Creative Director of Wicked Thoughts and Wicked Grounds and Founder of Climate Tribe. The next wicked thoughts is held on the 5th January. A cacao ceremony with the international awarded singer Jennifer Ann. Get your ticket here.

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