1. Self-care has very little to do with “treating yourself.”
Even though treating yourself can absolutely be part of your life, true self-care is "not salt baths and chocolate cake" as Brianna West says on her post Self-care is Very Unbeautiful Thing. True self-care is about making the choice to build a life you don’t need to regularly escape from. Self-care should not be something we resort to because we are so absolutely exhausted that we need some reprieve from our own relentless internal pressure. If you find yourself having to regularly indulge in consumer self-care, it’s because you are disconnected from actual self-care, which has very little to do with “treating yourself” and a whole lot do with parenting yourself and making choices for your long-term wellness.
2. It requires effort to really get to know yourself.
How can you take care of yourself if you, yourself don’t even know what you want and need? Why did you lash out at your husband or kids?
“It is not about the stuffed peppers” as Kate Northrup says in her book Do Less.
I remember when I used to get insanely angry and I would lash out at anyone especially those that I loved the most. The worst part was that I didn’t even know why I felt so angry. I had to pause, really pause and ask myself “what really is bothering me?” It is usually not the “stuffed peppers.” It is usually something that has been brewing and but haven’t said anything about it, we have suppressed it, until it can no longer be suppressed, so then it explodes.
At the beginning it might mean pausing before you lash out or even after and taking sometime to identify what really is bothering you. Then you may be able to recognize that is not the “stuffed peppers.” Little by little you begin to recognize what works and what doesn't work. Then you are able to recognize it and take the appropriate action before we get to the exploding and lashing out stage. Which lead to the next points.
3. Takes doing the thing you least want to do.
“It is letting go. It is choosing new. It is disappointing some people. It is making sacrifices. It is sometimes having a dirty kitchen and deciding your ultimate goal in life isn’t going to be having abs and keeping up with your fake friends. It is giving the hell up on some goals so you can care about others. It is being honest even if that means you aren’t universally liked. It means being the hero of your life, not the victim.”- Briana West
It is getting to bed on time, planning, shopping for and preparing healthy meals, saying no, setting a boundary. It's doing the thing you may least want to do at that moment. When something bothers you and instead of grabbing the ice-cream or the wine to numb and check out or lash out, it’s sitting with your emotions and getting to know you.
4. It requires action.
“It is no longer using your hectic and unreasonable life as justification for self-sabotage. It’s no longer just running from your problems and calling the distraction a solution.” - Brianna West
Once we know what is bothering us, and we recognize that taking care of ourselves takes doing the thing you least want to do, it requires courage to take the appropriate action. To speak up and ask for your needs to be met, to set limits and boundaries, knowing that you might disappoint some people, knowing that you may not be universally liked, but you are choosing a life that feels good over one that looks good.
It is recognizing what you need and then having the courage to ask for it.
5. Worthiness and shame.
Self-love and self-care come from a place of worthiness, but if we believe that we are not worthy and deserving how can we take care of ourselves? If we are not worthy of taking time to eat, of preparing meals or to nourish ourselves, to take a break, to rest or to have fun, and it's all about the never ending to do list, and constantly doing for others and never for yourself. If we believe we are not worthy of our own time and self-care, then we risk burn out or then life becomes unbearable. Read my post on Self-Care: Worthiness and Shame
Letting go of the lie that your value and worth is based on how much you do and if you can do it alone.
Worthiness is your birthright.
You are worthy just as you are!
“It is becoming the person you know you want and are meant to be. Someone who knows that salt baths and chocolate cake are ways to enjoy life – not escape from it.” - Briana West
So tell me how are you truly taking care of yourself?
Can you take some time to identify what really is working and not working in your life?
What is the action that you least might want to do, but you know it's necessary?
Take one step at a time. Remember to be very kind with yourself through this journey.
Sending you so much love and compassion,