The term self-care means different things. I’m sure if you asked 10 people you’d get 10 different answers depending on how you phrased the question. That’s a good thing. When I started doing this work years ago, that term wasn’t in our vocabulary.
There weren’t many articles or conversations about what it means to take care of yourself other than the Mother’s Day sentiment to “put your feet up and let others take care of you today” type of thing.
I’m glad self-care is a common concept that lots of people discuss now. As I grew, I came to understand that Self-Care and Self-Love are the same. However as time passed, I saw that self-care (as with many terms) has become generic and cliché, losing its true meaning. I’m concerned that it’s become the go-to term for a mani-pedi or girls’ night out; not the real vision of self-care I’ve been helping others to incorporate into their daily lives for stress management. I’m all for keeping fingers and toes looking cute and encourage you to say yes to treating yourself as often as you can.
Spending time doing things you love is definitely one component of self-care. You have to self-love to self-care and self-care to self-love. Both are necessary in order to properly meet the needs of your well being.
My goal: turning self-care into self-love.
- regard for one’s own well-being and happiness (chiefly considered as a desirable rather than narcissistic characteristic).
Self-love is about actions that we take to define and care for ourselves. It’s not a passive self-obsessed emotion. It’s a way of being.
For many of us, this can be a hard step to take. We’ve been taught to be of service to others at the expense of our own health, happiness and well-being. If this is where you are, here are a few steps you can take to embrace more self-love in your life.
- Be honest about what you need. Even if it’s just in private at first. If you can’t be honest with yourself, others who love you are never going to know how to give you what you need, even when they truly desire to do so.
- Forgive yourself. You aren’t perfect. It’s okay. Being hard on yourself for mistakes, real or perceived, zaps your emotional strength and your ability to be clear-eyed about solutions or changes that could be helpful.
- Establish boundaries. Say no to things that don’t serve you or don’t fit who you are. Refuse to give in to guilt trips or drama that others want to bring into your day. You aren’t required to fix the world and it’s 100% okay to pass when you are asked to jump into something you know isn’t going to be positive or affirming for you.
Add self-love steps into your day. Recognize that you’re worth taking care of too.
You Matter! Say Yes to Self-Care! ™