Self care has many definitions. In health care, self care most closely aligns with preventative medicine, the care of one’s own body and adherence to medical advice. It is also considered a primary form of care for patients with chronic medical conditions who have to make many day-to-day decisions or self-manage their illnesses. In terms of philosophy, self-care refers to the care and cultivation of self in the most comprehensive sense in terms of one’s soul and self-awareness. Instead of taking care of one’s body, it focuses more on caring for one’s mental health, soul, and emotions.
Okay, so both of those sound good don’t they? Take care of your physical and mental health. Sign me up. So then, I ask you, why is it so difficult to see to fruition? Somehow, the concept of self-care in our day and age has acquired a negative connotation. Somehow the idea of self-care has become synonymous with selfishness and therefore imbued with a sense of guilt that we have difficulty shaking off. Why? They are absolutely not the same thing.
Kenya Foy outlines 6 important differences between self care and selfishness. I am going to focus on four of them. 1) Self care has far reaching benefits for yourself and everyone in your life. If you have taken the time to care for yourself, you reap the emotional and physical benefits and so does everyone around you as they benefit from your energy, your positivity and your productivity. 2) Self care is not done with an intent to harm others. To be selfish is to behave in a self-serving manner with an underlying malicious intent. There is a desire to actually take from others which may result in harm. Self care is all about replenishing your own resources without taking anything from anyone else. 3) Being selfish prevents you from giving of yourself while self care makes it possible. If you go around with a “me first only” attitude then you have absolutely no room for consideration of others. If you practice self care, you end up setting boundaries for yourself that actually leave some room and some energy left to focus on others if necessary. 4) Self care builds strength. Once you give yourself permission to shower yourself with love, you gain security which allows you to make better decisions for the world around you. Selfishness has an inherent insecurity that weighs down everything that you think and do.
Are you convinced yet that self care is the way to go? I think I am. As a matter of fact, I think I hear my bubble bath waiting before I head off to my meeting. Have a fantastic day everyone.