Self-care is not self-indulgence. Self-care is self-respect.
It is often difficult to find time for ourselves with the pace of today’s world. We are pulled in so many directions–family, work, community–that we often put ourselves and our needs last. Self-care is crucial. We can’t take care of others with depleted internal resources.
What does self-care look like? I’ve come to believe there are different ways we practice self-care. The first is physical self-care. Eating healthy foods, exercising, if possible getting massages, yoga, using alternative health care options. All these are ways we find to stay healthy, to relax, to take care of our wonderful bodies. With healthy bodies we have much more energy to care for others.
There is another kind of self-care–emotional self-care. I talk to many people who take good physical care of themselves yet don’t think about what they say to themselves on a daily basis. We are often so self-critical of all we do. Our self-talk can be devastating to our emotional well-being. What kind of conversations do you have with yourself? What do you say to yourself when you make a mistake? Do you chastise yourself, or do you practice kindness toward yourself? How often do you make judgmental or derogatory remarks to yourself during the day? Do you rehash conversations with others and judge yourself for doing or saying the wrong thing? Do you care more about what other’s say and think about you than what you think about yourself? All these negative self-talk experiences create interior violence. My guess is most of us would never treat another the way we treat ourselves. Often we are unaware of the number of times we attack ourselves with negative self-talk.
As you continue to practice self-care, I invite you to pay attention to your interior conversations with yourself. They are quite revealing about what we believe about ourself. Radical self-care is learning to love all parts of us, and to be extremely kind and forgiving toward ourself.