Self-care is an important concept and one that we hear a lot about these days. I am so glad that we are talking more about how important it is to take care of ourselves.
However, there is something lacking from our conversations around self-care; and that is that in order to take care of yourself you have to actually care ABOUT yourself. Many of us speak most harshly to ourselves, we treat ourselves with criticism, cruelty and disdain. If we are coming from that place (which most people are) then the idea of self-care does not have any real pull other than another thing to feel guilty about NOT doing. Why would we take care of someone we don't think is deserving of care?
The images and ideas associated with self-care are often thin white women getting a massage or going for sunset runs on the beach with flowing blond hair cascading behind them. If you feel far away from the cultural standard of a beautiful person the idea of self-care may only cause you more distress. You might think you can't take care of yourself UNTIL you are different in some way. That you don't deserve to take care of yourself or that self-care has to be only eating broccoli for dinner- even if you hate broccoli.
The most important part of self-care and THE MOST FOUNDATIONAL FORM OF SELF-CARE IS SELF-COMPASSION. This is learning to love yourself and be kind and gentle to yourself AS YOU ARE RIGHT NOW. Because YOU ARE GOOD ENOUGH EXACTLY AS YOU ARE AND YOU DESERVE YOUR OWN LOVE!
If the idea of self-compassion seems impossible, I understand. I felt that way for a long time too. Now it is something I tap into nearly EVERY DAY and I can't imagine my life without it.
My work as a Hakomi client helped me build a kinder relationship with myself and the Mindful Self-Compassion course with the Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness gave me important skills and tools that have brought self-compassion into my DAILY life and for that I am so grateful.
If you want more of this in your life, a good place to start is with these free guided meditations on self-compassion. The Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness offers Mindful Self-Compassion courses and in my work with clients I integrate self-compassion AND the barriers we bump into as we work toward it as a critical part of your healing journey.
May you find some compassion for yourself today.