Where is your self-care rooted? Is there such a thing as unhealthy self-care? Is your motivation coming from a place of care, compassion, self-acceptance, and kindness? Or is it coming from a place of shame, self-loathing, or inadequacy – of not being enough? Does regard for your own happiness and fulfillment feel like a necessity? Or does it feel like a conceited, narcissistic, egotistical exercise? Do you fall somewhere between?
Sometimes feelings of not being enough can show up as not having the time to care for yourself, or making excuses of not having enough time or making time for everyone but yourself. It can show up in patterns of caring for yourself that are driven more by society or what someone else thinks is the right way. It can move into more obsessive practices of dieting or exercising that are not beneficial.
Most times when the root of self-care is not being enough it becomes a cycle that is suboptimal. For example, I don’t feel like enough so I start dieting and exercising to try to fill in the feelings of being enough. The diet doesn’t go well, the exercise program I’ve chosen isn’t sustainable and I fail. Now I’m really not enough. Even worse than when I started really because now I’ve also failed at a couple of things.
I think it is very important to come from a place of empowerment rather than rejection – approval versus disapproval – acceptance versus opposition. When self-care comes from a place of being enough and acceptance of who you are the good effects are multiplied. The self-care practices are sustainable, they feel good, and motivation is wrapped up in that. This builds confidence and trust and feeds feelings of acceptance and self-love. Which then ripple out into acceptance of others and love for what is around me. I have more to share.
Is your self-care aligned with your purpose or your values? I think it is really important to examine the reasons why you care for yourself and the ways you care for yourself. This intentionality also multiplies the effect. If I am coming from a place of love and acceptance when I care for myself I can feel this on many levels. Just like I can feel the difference in coming from a place of judgment and inadequacy. Not only are my practices going to be different (conscious eating rather than dieting, joyful movement rather than beating myself up with exercise), the cycle of my feelings for myself flows into my entire life. If I am sowing seeds of joy and beauty, the flowers that bloom will be bountiful and lovely.
For me, self-care is a way to celebrate the love I have for myself. The practices I have are reminders that I matter, that I’m worth it – and that I am enough. Self-care has become a lifestyle for me. The practices and rituals I come back to nourish me. I invite you to feel into the borders of caring for yourself and try new things. Wholeheartedly.