Self-Care is For Everyone, Regardless of Circumstance

Freedom from Want (painting)

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Self-Care Tip #166 – To do self-care, believe that self-care is for you as it is for everyone.

How do we explain self-care to someone still in a deprived situation?  Deprived of freedoms the rest of us assume:  access to water, time, many choices, and so on.  Some time ago we talked about self-care being ours because we have freedom.  Because of democracy, we are free.  Because of those who fought and still fight for our rights, we are free.  Because of our essence, we are free.  We compared it to the Gettysburg Address of all things, and even when writing the blog-post, I was surprised that the correlation was so natural and right.

Carl, our dependable kind cynic, commented on the post Taking Care of Yourself is The Best Part of Your Treatment Cocktail:

Many I know can’t just do what they want to do.  Chained.  Chained by drudgery of work.  (You do not quit at the iron mill to become a poet, not in this economy.)  Chained by responsibility as family supporter.  Limited time and finances.  Limited by age or illness.  The best these people can do is try to find some brief periods of quality hobby or playtime.  Some have the tenacity to survive in spite of, as I did.  But facing the realities profoundly inhibit wellness, and depression deepens and immobilizes us on the worst days.

Many days I try to distill what self-care is and what it means, and it seems to change on me or grow another way just when I think I’ve got it.

…It is accountability for “Me” now and in the future.  It is not accountability for my past, for chaos or for the choices of others.

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…It is freedom.  Personal freedom to say, “This is my body that God gave me and I will choose to take care of it.”

…It is working hard to do what is in the best interest of “Me.”  It is knowing these things may not come easily or naturally or by chance.  Self-care does not mean doing what is selfish or not in the best interest of others.

Is everyone free?  I think we’d all agree, no, in an immediate sense such as, “Freedom from want,” or freedom from mental illness.  But perhaps we might wonder together and even agree about an eternal sense of freedom that is unchanged by circumstance.

Should everyone work hard at taking care of himself regardless of circumstance?  Yes.

Is everyone accountable to himself?  I’d say it depends in which paradigm we’re talking about.

However we answer these questions, I don’t think we really have a chance at self-care for “Me” if we don’t believe it is for everyone everywhere.

Questions: What do you say?  How do you define self-care?  What about those who are limited and chained, as Carl described?

13 thoughts on “Self-Care is For Everyone, Regardless of Circumstance

  1. I see in here a call to action: if there are situations in which a people or a country are not free, we might well have an obligation to help secure the democracy there. I might be a little preoccupied with Egypt at the moment… It might be strange to think about worrying about the self-care of others when we are all on the journey ourselves and don’t have it perfect yet, but a call to action may also be a higher calling than one’s own self. Part of self-care is, I think, working to ensure that it is accessible to everyone. Of course, maybe then we also learn that part of our own self-care technique is to look outward, toward helping others. Putting goodness out into the world, and hoping it comes back to us…

    • Here we go agreeing again, Sarah! I, too, believe that part of our own self care is looking out – reaching out – to others. It’s so easy, when we’re feeling down or in pain, to look inward. Reaching out to help others (like Kevin did with his friend this week) takes our mind off ourselves…even if it’s only for a short while – but each “short while” makes the next “while” longer, I believe. I don’t know what we do about things like the situation in Egypt or the shootings in Arizona, but I remember being sick enough that I don’t think I COULD care about anything but me, and now that I’m aware of what real self-care is, that wasn’t self-care – it was self-destruction. If nothing else, caring – having feelings – about those around us, no matter how far away, is self-care even if we can do nothing else but just care – and pray. Was there ever a time in your life when you couldn’t even pray?

  2. While I might be a cynic, I’m not the Carl cited above. Sometimes depression blocks this type of self-care regardless of how good our cognitive strategies are. People with depression must have hope for a better future, and a better future often requires a great amount of action. It is not easy.

  3. I am not a cynic. I am Italian. I don’t even know what country cynics come from. ANYWAY, I hear so many people complain about what they think is a low standard of living. Yes it is distressful to be poor in a rich country. But if all you have is a small apartment, a stove and fridge, running water and a toilet and can feed yourself, you live better than 85% of the planet’s population. Thank you for including some of my ideas as part of these engaging discussions.

  4. As a fellow paradigmologist….I think that this can be looked at in many ways. I think that self-care is always important in the correct paradigmatic terms. Intrinsically, self-care is good in that it is a way to maintain and improve. Ironically, I believe that self care becomes even more important when it is the most difficult. During times when chaos ensues, either internally or externally, self care seems to become the basis on which all other positive actions are built. Does this mean that I am the guy styling my hair when the zombie invasion begins? No… to me it means that by taking care of myself and “Being a friend to myself” (I forget where I heard that), I am prepared and capable of dealing with life on life’s terms. This represents a grand paradigm shift from a person who tried to create life’s terms (quite unsuccessfully) because I was not able to deal with the reality of life.

    • um, wow!? “During times when chaos ensues, either internally or externally, self care seems to become the basis on which all other positive actions are built.” that was amazing. thank u mr. rick. i wonder if u’ve ever been to this blog before? we have another mr. rick who routinely trashes us but oh well. welcome and come often mr. insight. thank u so much for commenting, seriously. u r a pearl.

  5. i think we can all look after each other in this world dosnt matter what you circumstances i tihnk belife is the main word someone who belives strongly enuff that they can and they are half way there we can all self care

  6. Pingback: Set Your Self-Care Free. It Is Not A Moral Issue. « A Friend to Yourself

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