Self-Care Is About More Than “Me”

Self-Care Tip #208 – If for no other reason, get friendly with yourself simply to survive and you’ll see what that means later.

my self care reminders

Image by CatrinaZ via Flickr

It is not unusual to think of “selfish-care” when we hear “self-care.”  I can imagine children gripping their mother’s skirts more tightly, husbands pulling their helpmate’s hands away from this influence, church-folk sniffing over rejections to service-calls or friends personalizing the way their phone doesn’t ring as much as it used to.  This is a natural response, although it is a false perception.  Think – feeling suffocated by her penance, he’s wearing a martyr’s cross or she’s giving to us from victimhood.  Those are the times we would rather not receive the gifts of time, person or anything dripping with that kind of guilt and implied debt. This kind of service comes from someone impoverished, giving on credit.

I’ve been known to say, “We can’t give what we don’t have.”  Or as Jasmine said,

You can’t give someone a ride if you’re all out of gas!

So when is self-care selfish?  To be true to what self-care is, I’d say almost never.  However, because the question comes from such an intuitive fear in any of us, “never” can’t be an entirely fair answer.  To answer it best though, we need to turn it over and go back to trying to discover why we wanted self-care first.  What brought us here?  Jacqui said it well in yesterday’s post-comments:

Ditto about ‘self-care boot camp’. I may steal that one. You’ve given me permission to be selfish if need be. It’s all about self-preservation.

Sometimes we are reduced to self-preservation.  It has an intensity to it, a survival mode of live or die, which may be appropriate to a desperate condition in life.   Many of us know what that feels like.  So in this context, self-care is in part about survival.  Alright.  But is survival a selfish need?  Are we worth that little?  Does the life in us hold value only at that level?

Image by guttersnipe.76 via Flickr

You hear the clomping my words are making and can follow that I answer, no.  Survival has far reaching significance.  I matter.  You matter.  We have value beyond our own selves and Me booting up to live better also ripples over those same infinite number of connections.

I am confident that if for no other reason than getting friendly with yourself simply to survive, you will still see at least some of what more that means later.  Self-care is about more than Me.

Question:  When do you think self-care is selfish?  Why do you think self-care is not?  Please tell me your story.

18 thoughts on “Self-Care Is About More Than “Me”

  1. self care is not selfish when it works both ways but sometimes getting the ballance is quite hard and mistakes can be made i found the middle point witch work really god cant be any better

    • hey stranger! sooo wonderful as always to have u around. u remind me of my “cool” cousin that used to make me omelets w brea cheese. u make like none of those things but, well, projection can b a lot of fun ;).

      …self-care confused w self-importance. wonderful parallel. thank u.

  2. Self care may be considered selfish if it involves survival, but to be available to others you have to nurture yourself to possess that availability. It may be considered selfish when you have to say “no” to the impositions of others and to limit your availably and ration your stamina. Anything that threatens mental health and sobriety for example has to be dismissed without self guilt for survival.

  3. The most important step I took in sefl care was learning to say “no”…that alone opened massive time for me. I stilll say yes at times, and I still hesitate, but I do know when, why, and how to say that powerful two letter word!

  4. Self-Care for me is listening to my body and mental state and taking care of me when something feel out of balance (not always an easy thing). Since I don’t have young children, I can afford to take some alone time to do things that I love, or just rest if that is what I need.

    Selfish self-care would be to neglect obligations and responsibilities including loved ones. However, saying that, sometimes you need to step back and reflect and/or make changes and hopefully you have a supportive partner who understands you and can take up some of the slack… it goes both ways.

  5. Strangely – or maybe not, considering my up-binging – I feel that self care is selfish when I’m really enjoying it….when I do any artwork or read a book or even take a nap. “Shouldn’t do that. Too many other more important things to do. Waste of time. Other people are counting on you. What will people think?” My parents may be dead but they’re still in my head.

    The frustrating thing now is that self care is consuming what I think may be too much time – the keeping track of what I eat, how I feel, how I slept; the time on the exercycle; writing responses on this blog site. I feel better physically and emotionally but the artwork, the book reading and the naps are fewer and farther between. Balance would be a good thing….or time management….or extra hours in the day. But, worth it? Yes. Selfish? Absolutely not!

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