It’s a thought and a common one at that.
Am I being selfish?
Taking time for ourselves can lead to concerns that self-care may be considered selfish, or is something we ‘should’ do when we get everything else done.
“Once I take care of all the important people and things in my life, then I’ll take care of myself.”
In addition to this, fear or guilt can be the motivation to take better care of ourselves.
“I should eat better.”
“I should exercise more.”
“I’m not taking good care of myself and if I keep this up I’m going to gain weight, get sick, or something really bad is going to happen to me.”
These types of negative, critical thoughts often roll around in our brains, and often are the impetus or motivation for us to 'take care of ourselves.'
Authentic self-care is not selfish, and it’s not a guarantee that we won’t gain weight or get sick — although taking care of ourselves would ultimately make those things less likely.
The truth is that self-care is about honouring ourselves, caring for ourselves, nurturing ourselves, and loving ourselves — both for our own benefit and for the benefit of everyone around us.
Self-care is fundamental to not only our personal well-being but also to our relationships. It empowers us to be more available and generous with the people around us in an authentic way, while modeling to them how we want to be treated. As Michael Bernard Beckwith says:
“The Golden Rule is ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’
The Platinum Rule is ‘How I treat myself is training others how to treat me.’”
Taking care of ourselves takes courage, commitment, and willingness. Given the nature of our busy lives, it’s can be a challenge, logistically or emotionally, for us to make and keep our self-care commitments.
It’s not about doing it “right” or “perfectly,” or even about following routines and rituals. It’s simply about remembering that we deserve to take care of ourselves, and when we do, it not only nourishes us but also allows us to be available for important things and people in our lives.
Inspired by ‘Nothing Will Change Until We Do’ by Mike Robbins