Suit Up: How Self-Care Isn't Selfish
Are you looking after yourself? Like, honestly?
Are you? Because a lot of us, well....we aren't. At least not consistently. We're too busy looking after other people and stuff and things and jobs and errands and pets and and and. So we forget. Or stall. Or pretend. Or worse, we make up reasons why we don't have time and don't deserve to care for ourselves first.
The heavy truth is: we have time. We just fill it with other things. All those “shoulds” and “have tos” and other vampires that divert energy away from our priorities. Away from our values. Away from remembering our own worth and the fact that we do, in fact, deserve care.
Enough with that. Enough now.
Cards on table: intentional self-care leads to a higher quality of life. Being a selfless martyr, however, leads nowhere but downhill.
Here's why: you cannot pour from an empty cup. To do what you want for not only yourself but for others - effectively and wholly and without resentment - you need to feel open, capable, energized, and in control.
So working back from that you've gotta take care of yourself. As they say on all the airplanes: you need to put on your oxygen mask first.
Said another, more fun way: it's time to suit up like Iron Man.
You get the idea. While Tony Stark may be kind of a dick sometimes, let's be honest, he does have the good sense to know that he's not going to do a great job being Iron Man without the suit.
It is not selfish to be whole when we face the world
Engaging in self-care is an act of protection, of self-love. And therefore it's an act of self-worth.
The overall need to feel worthy is normal. It is essential to our quality of life. But very often the lens through we which we do that is clouded. It's clouded by all these other views that come from other people, the media, colleagues, family etc. that muddy the view. We judge and we compare and we become blurry. We don't clean the lens. We get used to not seeing, and not attending to SELF.
This view of self is directly related to how we view and experience the world. When we look through a blurry lens, we cannot see anything properly, inside or out, which means we can't connect. If we clear the lens by putting ourselves back into focus, as it were, we can SEE. And if we look clearly at what and who we are, flaws and beauty altogether, and accept that package as worthy through our OWN eyes, we can connect with so much more of the world and our place in it. We can accept the things that serve us or choose to reject what doesn't.
Love, philanthropy, movement, fuel, passion, our work - LIFE: we can only connect with these outside "things" in a useful way when we are connected to ourselves.
Otherwise it's just thoughts, words, wishes. Not actions. Not living.
So here's my message about self-care that I hope will stick with you. When we allow others to blur our worth, we will always feel lost.
If we begin to take care of ourselves, INVEST in ourselves, SEE ourselves from a foundation of worth, then that investment will yield a return. Balance, space, control, confidence, self-actualization and so on.
The reason we don't take care of ourselves is because of some voice inside us that says we shouldn't. That we don't deserve it. That we didn't earn it. That it's lazy or foolish or unproductive or some other negative thing. And what all of that negativity comes down to is that we don't always think we're worthy of looking after. That being a mom or a woman or a caregiver or employee means that we are beholden elsewhere first. We think we come last.
In case you missed it, that is total BS. We do not come last.
Say it out loud. I am Iron Wo(man). Now go suit up.