Self-Care is Not Selfish
I saw a post on Facebook asking if self-care was selfish and it’s triggering a little bit of a longer response.
We know that self-care isn’t selfish. We talk about this idea of filling up our own cups or gas tanks first, putting on our own oxygen masks first and so on. But do we actually do this in practical terms? Not generally.
Usually, self-care comes after the kids are in bed, the chores are done, all the emails/phone calls/texts have been answered, everybody else is happy and the house is clean. Then maybe, just maybe we might get in a bath or 5-minutes alone before we crash. I hate to tell you this, but that’s not self-care. That’s putting everybody else before ourselves. It’s not okay.
What does true, real, self-care actually look like then?
- Giving the kids an extra few hours in front of a screen to take a break
- Feeding the kids ice cream for dinner because getting up is too much work
- Not answering the phone/emails/texts for days or weeks at a time to preserve your own energy. It’s not rude.
- Cancelling those plans
- Hiring a maid to clean the house or just not cleaning it this week
- Asking for help
- Letting everybody just darn well fend for themselves
- Not worrying about anybody but yourself.
What happens when someone suggests these things is people get triggered and revert to the extreme of always and never.
“They can’t have ice cream every night.”
“I can’t just not ever clean my house again.”
“So I’m just never supposed to answer a text again?”
These are triggered ideas. We’re not talking about always and never. Those are extremes. We’re looking for something called balance. The idea of balance is different for everybody so I can’t tell you what that is for you. You have to figure that out on your own.
What I am suggesting though, is that none of these things, when done in balance, is wrong, bad, rude, or neglectful. It is balance. It does honour our own needs at the time. It frees us from feeling that everything needs to be perfect and everybody needs to be happy before we can take care of ourselves. It removes the crazy expectations we put on ourselves. It frees us from needing to make other people happy first.
I’m going to allow myself a little tangent here because parenting is where the problem often begins. Parenting in society today has become martyrdom. We toss around phrases like, “the kids didn’t ask to be here” as if it somehow validates how miserable we are at the expense of our children.
Here’s the deal. Your kids did ask to be here. Their spirits decided to jump into that human form. If their spirit didn’t want to be here, they wouldn’t be either.
Kids have their own path, purpose, spirits, and life experience to have. It’s not our job to steer it, direct it, guide it or change it.
Our children are not ours. Yes, the come through us but they are not of us. They are not possessions. We don’t own them. They are here to explore for their own soul purpose.
You are not a better parent because you sacrifice yourself for your children. Your children deserve a happy parent. If you’re not happy not only aren’t they getting the parent they deserve, but they are also learning how to put themselves last, not honour their own needs, take care of everybody else first, and kill themselves to make others happy. Is that the example you want to set?
Parenting is not martyrdom. You are not a martyr. Don’t be one. Show your kids that you take care of yourself. Show your kids that it’s okay to make themselves happy. Show your kids that you understand that taking care of yourself allows you to take better care of them. Show your kids how to balance life. Show your kids how to be happy by being happy yourself.
Self-care is a daily process that requires a constant focus, not on the outside world, but on the internal one. If we’re only taking care of ourselves for 5-minutes once a year, we’re not giving ourselves the respect we deserve. Other people won’t respect us and our boundaries if we don’t respect ourselves. Part of that is honouring your own need to take care of yourself first. The more you do that, the more other people will see that and respect you for it.
Have you given yourself permission to take care of yourself yet?
Love to all.
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