I was inadvertently taught, at a young age, that for someone to like me, I had to prioritize their needs over mine. I say inadvertently because this lesson was not intentional. With their words, the adults in my life encouraged me to be strong and to love myself. Through their actions, they showed me that life was about sacrificing your wants and needs for those of others. The idea of putting yourself first, well, just made you kind of a jerk.
But, let’s fast-forward to today. I’ve gone through some ups and downs, and each of these experiences has taught me one of the most important lessons I’ve learned in my adult life. Here it is:
Self-care is absolutely and without question crucial to your well-being and sense of fulfillment in life.
I often hear the term “self-care” thrown around these days like it’s some trendy, short-lived, fad. And taking care of yourself gets tied to selfishness leading to real feelings of guilt. In my opinion, the concept does not get the respect it deserves.
Folks, I’m here to tell ya, this is why you need to stop feeling guilty about self-care:
# 1 – Loving yourself is NOT a bad thing
Stop feeling guilty about self-care reason #1: It’s important to love yourself. Your quality of life depends on it!
As an adult woman with some life experience, I still struggle with self-love. For those of us who struggle with low self-esteem, the concept of loving yourself, when you cannot even recognize your self-worth, is a difficult one. Some days, it can feel downright wrong to look in the mirror and compliment yourself. But, here’s the deal, all those clichés out there about the importance of loving yourself are TRUE. Loving yourself is the greatest gift you can give yourself. Finding worth in who you are and accepting ALL of you is incredibly empowering and life-changing.
When I’m able to love myself, even if it’s for a day or even a moment, everything feels brighter and clearer. I stand firm in my purpose in life. I feel most connected with my family, my friends, my work, everything feels like it comes alive. You, special human you, were put on this planet for a reason. You are a gift. Treat yourself like the uniquely, beautiful human you are and show yourself some love!
# 2 – When everyone else is loving themselves, who is loving YOU?
You know those moments in life where someone says something to you and you feel like you’ve been hit by a ton of bricks, in a good way? You know, those moments where it feels like their words have passed your brain and directly penetrated your heart and soul? Well…this was one of those moments for me.
I was having a conversation with a friend one day about how exhausted I was. I was going on about the things I needed to get done for everything and everyone else, and how I felt completely burned out and not like myself. My friend then drops this question-bomb on me…
“When everyone else is loving themselves, who is loving you?”
Yeah…to say this question threw me for a loop would be an understatement.
I’ve never thought of that before. I was so busy doing for others what they were perfectly capable of doing for themselves. I was destroying my mental and physical health to ensure others were happy and healthy. I was the one who needed love. And I needed it from ME.
# 3 – You are NOT a selfish, self-centred jerk
Stop feeling guilty about self-care reason #3: self-care is never, ever, ever selfish.
Let me start by saying that if you ARE a selfish, self-centred jerk, you will still be one with or without self-care. I’m so sick of seeing the term self-care associated with the term selfish. They are NOT the same thing.
Selfish, as defined by oxforddictionaries.com, is “(of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.”
Self-care, as defined by oxforddictionaries.com, is “The practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.” or “The practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.”
The key difference in these definitions is the “lacking of consideration for other people”. The issue lies in assuming self-care implies neglecting the needs of others. This is false. It simply means including yourself in the CARE EQUATION.
# 4 – Nourish yourself to nourish others
Stop feeling guilty about self-care reason #4: how can you be of service to others when your tank is running on empty!?
If I could shout one thing from a rooftop, it would be this: You cannot pour from an empty cup. This one’s a toughy to wrap your mind around (you recovering people-pleasers out there know what I’m talking about). Helping others is what we do, we want to please. At a certain point, though, after neglecting our well-being for so long and reaching burnout, we won’t be able to do it any longer. And that sucks. It feels great to be there for others.
The truth is, for you to continue being that person to someone else, you’re also going to HAVE to be that for yourself. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it – nourishing yourself will also benefit those around you.
# 5 – Self-care is a way of life, not a one-time thing
Self-care is NOT only about burning your favourite scented candle. Don’t get me wrong, if burning a candle is something you enjoy then by all means – burn baby burn! But, self-care is SO MUCH more than that.
Self-care is mindfully going about your day thinking about your needs. It is about making your well-being a priority. It is about making a change to your lifestyle. It is about making an effort to love yourself more, to accept yourself, and to know your worth. It is a lifelong journey.
And there are different types of self-care –emotional, physical, spiritual, and the list goes on. The truth is, self-care is a very personal thing. What constitutes as self-care to me, may look different to you. Reflect on the areas in life you are neglecting the most and work on nourishing those.
Read more: 6 Types of Self-Care & Ways to Practice Them
# 6 – Enjoying YOUR life is not something you should feel guilty about
Stop feeling guilty about self-care reason #6: it’s OK to love and enjoy your life!
Let’s keep this one short and sweet.
Life is tough. But, I refuse to believe that we are only here to struggle. Life is meant to be lived to its fullest. You are meant to feel joy and love and happiness TOO. And there’s no shame in that.
# 7 – If people don’t like you doing it, they are NOT your kind of people
I repeat, NOT YOUR KIND OF PEOPLE.
The truth is, once you begin to make yourself a priority, after years of putting others first, many people will NOT be okay with this. You will quickly find out who is in your life because they genuinely care about you, and who has just been around you because they’ve been using you. Let me tell you, as difficult (and heart-breaking, really) as this process will initially be, it is the best thing that can happen. You will rid yourself of the inconsiderate, user-jerks, and start filling your life with caring and loving individuals who genuinely want to see you happy and doing well.
Life’s too short to put up with horrible humans – spend it with more of your kind of people!
The next time you come across this SELF-CARE term everyone’s been throwing around these days, you’ll understand that self-care is not simply a trendy, short-lived fad. Self-care is a crucial component to your well-being and sense of fulfillment. It is not something to feel shame or guilt about. And it’s because you’ll understand that:
- Loving yourself is NOT a bad thing
- When everyone else is loving themselves, who is loving YOU?
- You are NOT a selfish, self-centred jerk
- Nourish yourself to nourish others
- Self-care is a way of life, not a one-time thing
- Enjoying YOUR life is not something you should feel guilty about
- If people don’t like you doing it, they are NOT your kind of people
Wishing you endless self-love, happiness and continued self-care. Until next time, lovebugs! <3