Do you struggle with declining a request that compromises your individuality and happiness?
Have you ever felt guilty because you decided over the demands of others, to take some time out for yourself?
Or do you think that committing to the requests of others at the expense of your wellbeing translates to you being selfless and self-sacrificing?
Do you find it hard to say ‘no’?
What does self-love mean to you?
And how well do you practice self-care?
A lot of people naively mistake self-love and self-care for narcissism and selfishness. They believe that they are loved and accepted on account of the support that they extend to others, so they accept to do everything and be everything to everyone every time. Their desire for social acceptance influences them to mindlessly oblige others in a way that undermines their own needs and interests.
Consequently, they love and respect everyone else but themselves, they forgive and tolerate everyone else but themselves, they nurture and care for everyone else but themselves, they celebrate and show up for everyone else but themselves.
It is true that the quality of our lives and legacy lies in how well we impact others positively. However, it should not be in exchange for one’s own well-being and happiness. Self-love is not narcissism. Self-care is not self-gratification. Self-love is not selfishness.
On the contrary, as explained by Jody Michael in her blog post on ‘Prioritizing Yourself’, ‘while being selfish implies that the world revolves around you, self-care acknowledges that it includes you. It means giving yourself the attention, compassion, time, and energy that you deserve.’
It is important we understand that self-love and self-care are not moral flaws but basic human necessities. And I couldn’t agree more with Jeffrey Borenstein (M.D, President and CEO, of the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation), who explained that ‘Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth.’
Self-love entails having a high regard for your own wellbeing and happiness such that you do not satisfy others to the neglect of your wellbeing or settle for less than you deserve.
While Self-care involves the conscious choices and activities that support and promote your overall wellbeing and happiness. Personally, these choices and activities include but are not limited to; eating right, resting well, having ‘me time’, regular exercises, meditation, etc.
Bear in mind that the best of service is drawn from a place of strength. Our primary responsibility to humanity is to be our best and authentic self, out of which will flow rivers of living water that will heal the world. Hence, we will be doing not just ourselves but the world at large a major disservice if our pursuit in life is to be people pleasers.
There is no gainsaying that we can only love our neighbors as much we love ourselves. It is therefore best for us and our relationships that we love ourselves and we are kind to ourselves first so that we can then gain the capacity to love and be kind to others.
The best of self-care starts from a place of self-awareness. So, seek first to understand your thoughts, your feelings, your emotions, and your beliefs. Develop a relationship with yourself.
Practice meditation. You can start with 10mins all by yourself, block out external noise and listen to the stirrings within your soul. It will help ease off any stress, tension, and anxiety.
Practice journaling. Trust me on this, journaling is super therapeutic. It helps you release your thoughts, feelings, emotions in a way that liberates your soul.
Be intentional about your health and wellness. Feed well, rest well, and exercise regularly. Health is wealth!
Take work breaks as often as you can. Intentionally incorporate some ‘me time’ into your itinerary.
As often as you can afford to, plan a treat for yourself. It could be a simple as a lunch treat, a personal date night, a day off work, or a vacation if it works for you.
Be vulnerable enough to ask for help as often as you need to and be ready to receive people’s offer to help. Speak to friends and family who would be willing to support you.
Offer to help others as much as you can, but do not hesitate to say ‘no’ when the situation demands it.
Be positive to yourself. Focus on your journey and do not compare yourself with
I believe that we are only able to give the best of ourselves when we are our best selves. And I hope you found this post useful.
Which of these self-care tips do you already practice?
Which one(s) will you start to practice?
What other self-care tips have worked for you? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section and let’s continue the conversation.