Why Self-Care is Not Selfish
Why Self-Care is Not Selfish
We say (or think) it all the time: “Doing x,y,z for me is selfish.” We often say we don’t have time for self-care or we have too much to worry about to do things for ourselves. It is an unfortunate mindset and, quite frankly, practicing self-care is the opposite of selfish.
We struggle, especially as caregivers of any kind, with feeling like we always have something more important to do. We feel like we need to help our children on a school project instead of going to a yoga class. We stay up late writing reports for work instead of getting sleep. We fold laundry until we can’t keep our eyes open. We choose fast food over healthy meals because we are always running errands. And, we say “yes” when we really want to say “no.” These things are all important in some way, but we are forgetting one crucial part — caring for ourselves.
Self-Care is Necessary to Health
Self-care is essential to physical and mental wellbeing. It enables us to be the best version of ourselves. If we are always feeling run-down and exhausted from taking care of others, we aren’t going to be the best caregiver, employee, spouse, or neighbor. And, let’s face it, we probably won’t be much fun to be around. There is only so much of us.
Self-care is necessary for health, happiness, our ability to thrive, and our confidence. It is taking the time to fit in exercise, healthy meals, rest, and relaxation. It’s doing the things that make us feel alive and letting the rest go. It is alone time to take a walk, get some sleep, time with friends, read a book, see a doctor, or meet with a counselor. It is what is needed to maintain us.
Think about it as you would your car or your home. What happens if you never do an oil change on your vehicle? Or ignore that leaky faucet in your bathroom? Ultimately it will fail. Busted engines and broken pipes. The same is true for us.
Think of self-care as a personal tune-up.
Selfish is Not Considering Others
Being selfish is so very different. It is operating with a complete lack of consideration for others. It is ignoring how our actions impact those around us and acting with complete disregard for the health, safety, and happiness of others. Practicing self-care is taking the necessary steps to care for ourselves so that we can take care of others. It is the only way we can truly take care of another. We must put our oxygen masks on first.
Whatever it is that makes us feel like our true authentic selves, shouldn’t make us feel guilty. Carving the time to care for ourselves should be a top priority. It helps us to move from just existing to living this life. Many of us tiptoe through life, always focused on what is happening next, and fail to take in the things around us that make us feel alive. Self-care is about slowing down and living.
Self-Care is a Reminder that You Are Worthy
We are all worthy of love, grace, empathy, and forgiveness but none of those things are possible without self-care. Self-care is the ultimate act of self-love. Taking the time to acknowledge that we are allowed to be sad, depressed, rundown, angry, happy, excited, and uncomfortable can greatly improve our outlook on life. We are allowed to feel whatever we are feeling and we should be able to sit with those feelings.
Many people look for validation from others but the truth is the only validation that matters comes from within ourselves. When we take the time to connect with ourselves we learn to trust and feel validated, and we no longer need to turn to outside sources. Take the time to build an internal safe space. And, learn to listen to yourself.
The saying goes, “An empty tank will take you nowhere. Take the time to refuel.” Take that motto with you, make it your mantra, put yourself first.
If you are struggling with caring for yourself, consider seeking the help of a licensed mental health professional, like a counselor or therapist. They can help with healthy coping mechanisms and strategies that suit your life.
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