Why I Never Understood ‘Self Care’
‘Stop fussing about yourself and get on with it.’
I used to think that people who put themselves first were being selfish. Until recently my thoughts were a combination of ‘Who are they to act on their own interests first?’ and ‘I wish I could go out/in that store/spend time with friends’.
I felt so guilty about not being selfish, that I put being selfless first until I realised, (with a little help) that it was making me bitter. I kept thinking that people who put themselves first irritated me.
Birthdays would always be a bit of a trigger for me. I didn’t know why, but I’d feel incredibly low on a day that should be a celebration. I didn’t want the attention, the kind messages, or anyone to make me talk about it. I even removed my birth date on Facebook so I wouldn’t get the yearly ‘happy birthday’ notes.
Even at work, when we did the self-analysis tests, I’d think they were silly because we were talking about ourselves too much. I came off as a curmudgeon when I dismissed these opportunities to look inward as egotistical.
Self-care is something that I’ve never done, or have always felt guilty about.
It wasn’t until I spoke to my very clever wife that I realised how wrong I’d been. It wasn’t because these people were selfish, it was because I had such low self-esteem that I couldn’t see why anyone (me projecting) should be like that.
Then a fellow blogger and friend, Reg Lok posted an image on one of her Instagram stories that brought it all home. Self-care or even ‘self-love’ isn’t frivolously egotistical, it’s a necessity for being a healthy and functional person.
I sent her a DM: “So funny you posted this. Self-love is something I’ve never done. I feel too guilty.” To which Reg replied, “It definitely can be selfish. But I see self-love as taking away or minimizing the things that cause unnecessary…stress or pain.”
Radiating happiness and being a fulfilled person is something that I want for my daughter and wife, and come to think of it, me. I have to put myself first sometimes and do things that I want to do. I have to remind myself that the people around me want the same for me as well. The hardest part will always be that my first instinct is to make sure that they have their own self-care time too, or am I doing it wrong?
Do you make self-care a priority? Where do I even start? Comment below.