Self-care Cultivates Freedom

The term “self-care” is used a LOT in my practice. More often than not, the response it conjures is not one of empowerment, but of guilt. Responses include words like “try”, “should”, “I know”, “struggle”, “I don’t know when”, etc. The backstories of those responses are ideas of not being/doing enough and/or being responsible for the outcome of every detail, emotion, and choice of those around us. A dismal lack of boundaries muddles the concept, often accompanied by the remnants of trauma (societal/inherited trauma included). “Self-care” feels like ANOTHER thing I have to do that I am failing at. I shy away from the phrase “self-love” (but of course that is what we are really talking about), because some of things we identify as “love”, are NOT love. When we attempt to reflect those things inward, they don’t make sense. Hollowness, disorientation, overwhelm, and a foreign language-like encounter of confusion/helplessness/frustration are common experiences for people reckoning with self-love. It can turn us off and shut down our efforts before they get started. We are so unfamiliar with both self and love that it becomes easier to default to what we know – to those things which provide scaffolding for our identity, all the outside things that depend on us or that we believe depend on us. The lie is that self-care takes away from the rest of your life and will deprive others of what they need. The truth is that self-care gives life. Self-care revitalizes our parts, gives life to our bones, makes us better able to manage our lives, and REALLY love. Self-care cultivates self-love. When we...