At the start of this year I decided it was time I thought seriously about learning to care for myself. Typical of most mums I am fabulously good at caring for my family. I can anticipating their needs with almost scary accuracy and have spent the past tens doing so – both day and night. But as for treating myself with the same kindness? Hmmmmm, well let’s just say it had never even occurred to me that I should – or even could for that matter. I come from a long and well established line of martyrs, and to put it simply I grew up thinking self-care was just another word for ‘selfish’.
But if you read along here regularly you’ll know my life has had its emotional challenges lately. At some point a light bulb went on in my head and I realised I had to get to grips with true, honest and realistic self-care. I’ve lived in the belief that the best gift you can give those around you is your own happiness for years (because it releases them from ever having to worry about you) but for some reason I still expected other people to pick up the cheque when it comes to caring for me. I was living under the false belief that just because I cared for others they would automatically do the same for me. It’s actually come as a bit of a relief to know I can care for myself. It feels amazing and even empowering. So much so that today I thought I’d share a few things I’ve come across that have really resonated with me – because maybe they will do the same for you.
Marthe From The Freedom Experiment told me that “self-care is the practice of treating yourself with enough respect that you honour and fulfil your own needs as they arise.” She believers this is an ongoing job that involves asking yourself what you need right now and learning to deliver yourself the same high level of care that you already provide for others. (Marthe might be a mother too I suspect).
World Of Psychology have put to rest my fear of confusing self-care with selfishness with these words. “Self-care absolutely is not the same as selfishness. Selfishness is lacking any consideration about others and profiting by this. Self-care is about making sure that we are well and healthy so that we are more available to help others. They are in fact polar opposites.”
And for my final gem for today it’s back to Marthe who provides some hints on how to actually learn to take care of yourself by pointing out that “the true currency of self-care isn’t money – it’s time, compassion, attention and intention. If you treat yourself as someone worthy of your time, care and attention, you will eventually start feeling like you are. Don’t wait for the feeling to come first, lead and it will follow. ” .
Do you have thoughts on learning to care for yourself? I think most mums must go through a stage where we have to claim back our ability to honestly and openly care for ourselves. For me it’s important my daughters see me lovingly looking after myself so they grow up being free to do the same. Let me be honest here, this is a baby steps process and I have to remind myself A LOT, but thankfully I am well on my way. What does self-care mean to you?