Lately I’ve been talking a lot about self-care.
In fact, you might be grumbling to yourself “no, not again!” but I just can’t help it.
“Self-care” is a buzzword we never stop hearing, but that’s for good reason because we often neglect to care for ourselves.
We put everybody else’s wellbeing above our own, and that’s incredibly draining.
I’ve talked about how self-care isn’t really “selfish” and that you don’t have to care for your body and mind in expensive and outlandish ways.
I’ve even talked about “boring self-care,” which is often the most important—and achievable—form of self-care.
And, yet, I feel like I’m still missing something.
Self-care Is About the Interior, Not the Exterior
All this time, I’ve been focusing my energy on what I can DO to practice self-care.
I should make time for exercise because it is good for my body.
I should drink enough water because it’s healthy to stay hydrated.
I should take a walk or read a book because I am a better mother when I’ve had time to myself.
You’re probably thinking, ok—but what’s wrong with those things?
On the surface, nothing. Nothing is wrong with exercising, drinking more water, reading a good book, taking a walk alone, etc. because those things do affect my mood and wellbeing.
They do, without a doubt, make me feel better.
The endorphins from exercising boost my mood, the water I drink keeps me from feeling drained and thirsty, and the time I take to unwind through reading or going for a walk eases my mind from daily stressors.
All good things, but it’s the WHY I’m questioning.
Why is self-care important to you?
For the longest time, I’ve been treating self-care like some emotional version of lavender highlights or avocado toast—like a trend—by focusing on the exterior while not giving any further thought to the interior.
To my soul. My psyche. My self-confidence. My self-love. My worthiness as a human being.
I’ve equated the actions of self-care to the feelings of self-love and self-respect, but there is a distinction. And it’s an important one.
All these acts—these healthy, noble, caring acts—are meaningless if they are not initiated from a place of grace and love for myself.
If I’m doing them simply because I’m supposed to, then am I really caring for myself or just going through the motions?
Maybe it’s because some thoughts have been brought to the surface as a result of therapy and my most recent read, Present Over Perfect* (definitely recommend!), but I’ve been pondering what it means to really love myself and be present in my life.
To live unapologetically and realize that I am imperfectly but wonderfully made for a purpose.
To let go of shame, the grip of perfectionism, and the self-deprecating thoughts.
I don’t have all the answers.
I’m still learning that it’s ok to be imperfect, that it’s completely normal to question things—even at 33—and feel stuck in the muck and mire.
I’m realizing that I don’t have to behave a certain way because of societal expectations, and that the choices I make and the actions I take only go so far as the love and worthiness that rests behind them.
So remember (and I will, too): a bubble bath might be just what your body needs to unwind and regroup, but it will not wash away feelings of shame and self-loathing.
Regular exercise is immensely good for your health and mood, but you will never be able to outrun or outlift the demons chasing you or weighing you down.
A monthly mani-pedi and massage will make you feel polished and relaxed, but it won’t silence the inner beauty critic who’s always quick to point out your physical imperfections.
Self-care must come from within. It’s a difficult journey, learning to love yourself unconditionally, but it’s a journey worth taking.Self-care must come from within… #selflove #presentoverperfect Click To Tweet
[linking up with Amanda for thinking out loud]
So tell me…
- Do you think we sometimes miss the point of self-care?
- How can you focus on the interior vs the exterior when it comes to caring for yourself?