Recently, I read the comment that a person was labeled as selfish when they practiced self-care. It is one thing for each of us to get in our own heads and believe we are selfish because we are doing something for ourselves and not others (for a change!), but for someone to call out another person as selfish for taking care of themselves?! What prompts this kind of judgement of others?
My response was this: Self-care requires us to have self-awareness and this is something we continue to develop as we live. We have to own what we need and hope that others respect that. Self-care is not just a way to pamper ourselves, it is a way for us to get through living life!
Yes, I can see how people could perceive certain things or extremes as being self-serving versus simply caring for ourselves, but let’s face it, we all need different things as a part of our self-care routine. Perhaps someone only takes 4 times a year to care for themselves and so they get a massage, facial, hair done, shopping, etc. all at once, whereas, another person may take an hour a day to sit alone and reflect or do something for themselves, etc.
The point here is, we have to take care of ourselves before we can expect to be able to take care of others. We have to meet our needs, even if at the bare minimum so we can function. Just like they say on the airplane, “put on your oxygen mask first.” They say this because you are no help to others if you yourself can’t breathe! This is not selfish!
Consider this story:
Once upon a time, there was a cobbler who was very busy.
As the only cobbler in town, he was responsible for repairing everyone’s shoes. This meant he didn’t have time to repair his own shoes.
Over time, his boots began to fall apart.
He continued to work on the shoes of everyone else, while his feet got blisters and he started to have trouble walking.
Customers started to worry, but he assured them he was fine.
After a few years, the cobbler’s feet were so injured he could no longer work and no shoes got repaired.
Soon the entire town started to get blisters and be in pain, all because the cobbler never took the time to repair his own shoes.
If you don’t look after yourself, after a while you’ll be no good to anyone else either. Your best intentions will mean nothing, and you’ll be unable to do what you’re meant to do.
Not only do we need self-care to survive, but to thrive! I am giving you permission (in case that is what you are waiting for!) to take care of yourself! If you see it as selfish, then be selfish!
We are forming life habits all the time. How you are living right now is how you are likely to live in the future. Is this what you want your life to look like? What do you want to start doing? Stop doing? Now, stop thinking about it. Make a decision. Commit to it. Live it.
Self-care is an investment in yourself. Sounds like a pretty good investment to me; one that will pay off in the long run! Figure out where you will spend your self-care time: mind, body, and spirit.
Body: How do I stay energized?
Mind: How do I keep my head clear/focused?
Spirit: What do I find rewarding or inspiring?
The same things will not work for everyone, so find what you enjoy. If it is stressful to do, then it is probably not appropriate for your self-care practices, even though it may work for someone else you know.
“If you don’t make time to enjoy what you achieve, your life might look great, but it won’t feel great,” Kevin Lawrence, Your Oxygen Mask First.