By Jewel Safren, LCSW

In my last article I spoke about the importance of having a deep, visceral understanding that you have inherent value. You are part of the Divine intelligence—always connected to the Source—no matter what you have done (or imagined you have done). Nothing changes this; it goes to a way deeper place than the circumstances of your life.

So how do you get to a deep experience of this connection? First, let me mention that this experience is always inside you and available at any moment. It is not something that you have to “get to.” It is about letting go of beliefs that are blocking your own direct experience of the Divine within. I think of it as a clogged pipe: You just have to clear out the gunk.

So what are things we can do that help to “unclog the pipe”? Taking care of yourself is #1 on the list.

Most of us are so stressed all the time that we have lost touch with ourselves. We are always so frazzled, fried, exhausted and hangry (combo of hungry and angry—love that word), that we do not even know what our real self feels like. We are so disconnected from ourselves that we do not know how we really feel or what we really need.

Let me give you a personal example. In my angst-driven determination to be “super-mom,” I was everything to everybody. I was always at my wits’ end and totally felt like a hamster on a wheel. Of course, while I was publicly busy being supermom, I was privately resentful that I was not being fully appreciated. At this time in my life I constantly had the mom fantasy of getting in my car by myself and just driving off into the sunset. (Funny, every mom I know has had this fantasy…)

As my sense of inherent value became more real for me, as I learned to become aware of what I needed—of what nurtured me—my life began to change. I used to run myself ragged. Now, when I feel myself getting tired, I do what I can to rest. Back then, even if I was “starving” I would try to squeeze in those last things on my all-important to-do list. Of course, by that time my blood sugar was low and I was close to super-monster instead of super-mom. I learned to stop over-scheduling.

I changed a lot of little things: eating when I’m hungry, resting when I’m tired, taking breaks when I need them. Sometimes it’s having a big, fat steak. All these help to keep me on an even keel. Just noticing how I feel and asking myself, “What do I need in this moment?” has changed my life. Before, I was the slave—and did not realize that I was also the slave driver.

When you are in a more “resourced” state, you will more naturally feel your opening to the Divine energy that is always there. We have all experienced feeling connected. For some it’s swimming in the ocean; for others, music, exercise, nature—whatever nurtures you. But I’ll bet that these connected experiences never happened when you were stressed and at your wits’ end.

This is an inside job. Your husband cannot do this for you, nor can anyone else. I’m not talking about running away from home to escape your stress. I’m talking about all the countless things you can do for yourself during the day.

YOU matter and you are entitled to take care of yourself. Ask yourself what you need in this moment and let yourself have it.

Jewel Safren MSW, LSW, LCSW has over 35 years of experience in counseling, life coaching and public-speaking coaching. She has worked with people all over the US and in Europe, and runs popular personal growth workshops, webinars and classes. She is recommended by Rabbi Dr. Akiva Tatz; Rabbi Jonathan Rietti, B.Ed, M.Sci.; Rabbi Paysach J. Krohn and Rabbi Mordechai Becher. She lives in West Orange with her hubby and two kids, and has two married kids and two grandsons living in California. You can contact Jewel at 973-464-8556 or, if you would like to be on her mailing list or for more information, visit jewelsafrenlcsw@gmail.com.