What do you think of when you hear the words, ‘self-care’?
What does ‘self-care’ even mean?
From my experience there are many different understandings and levels of self- care.
I know I have always practised self-care in one way or another, even when I was not conscious of it being a ‘thing.’ The question is, “Could what was considered to be self-care in the past, now be considered as disregard or self-abuse?”
As a child I practised the basics that were to shower daily, wash my hair and clean, file and paint my fingernails and toenails. I ate food that I thought nourished my body. As a teen I would take the time to apply my makeup and choose beautiful outfits to wear. I had little rituals like moisturising my lips and always doing some form of exercise so my body was strong.
As I grew into adulthood, I continued this basic level of self-care and added in some newfound practices of self-care as well. I became interested in eating healthy food, continued with exercise in the form of yoga and different styles of dance.
I was also living an outdoor lifestyle that at the time I considered to be a healthy way to live after having spent my first twenty years living in a house in the suburbs with a television on.
At that same time I also began to choose some behaviours that I now consider quite harmful to the body. Given that a lot of people around me were also doing it, they were considered normal. For example, drinking alcohol.
As time moved on I became committed to certain self-care practices that I lived religiously, like drinking a fresh fruit and vegetable juice every morning, practising strong yoga poses every day, and drinking lots of water. Other practices I considered healthy at the time were swimming in a cold creek/beach for my morning shower, drinking one cup of coffee in the morning and none for the rest of the day, having honey or maple syrup instead of sugar and not eating red meat.
Whilst these practices were important for me at the time as part of my self-care routine, I can now see that they were a counterbalance to the abusive behaviours. Although some of these so-called rituals that I had practised for many years were not what I now understand true self-care to be, they did in fact build a foundation for me to stand on and develop a deeper level of truly caring for myself. After attending a local Meditation Group a few times, where we practiced the Gentle Breath Meditation™ (presented by Serge Benhayon, founder of Universal Medicine), I started to develop a deeper connection with myself and my body.
In developing this deeper connection, the harmful behaviours started to drop away.
It was this deeper connection to myself that showed me very quickly and obviously that the use of caffeine or alcohol or eating certain foods was, in fact, harmful and destructive to my body and well-being. But after living more lovingly and making choices based on how I felt in my body, many of the so-called ‘self- care’ practices of the past also dropped away.
The level of ‘self-care’ I now live continues to refine and deepen. When I first started to feel a newfound love for myself and wanted to practice this in the way I lived through ‘self-care,’ I changed my morning coffee ritual to a morning chai (spiced soy milk low caffeine tea with honey). Less caffeine but something very yummy so I could cope with not having my morning cup of coffee, or liquid gold as I used to call it. At the time, this was definitely a more loving choice than the strong caffeine hit I had been assaulting my body with for over a decade (I continued to drink decaffeinated coffee in a café sometimes because I liked the taste and the ritual, although that also went after about 3 years.) After a year of morning chai, I woke one morning knowing that I could not drink another. The ritual changed to a cup of Rooibos tea with soymilk. Soon the milk changed to homemade almond milk. Then after some time, it became a herbal tea without the milk.
Now, some six years after the last cup of full strength coffee, I drink my two cups of warm water upon waking (which I have done for decades, as this has always felt like a loving and supportive way to begin my day) and I actually don’t need the tea at all.
So as you can see from this example, as my level of ‘self-care’ deepened, what was considered self-care a few years ago I can now feel as disregard. Now I almost never feel to have hot, sweet milky drinks. And if I do find myself wanting such a thing, I know that there is a reason I want it, which is to feel comfort from a situation, or that I am not wanting to feel something I am not willing or ready to face.
This is just one simple example. I have realised that self-care comes into every aspect of my everyday living. For me, I have changed and continue to change the way I move, the thoughts I allow in, the way I exercise my body, the work I do, the way I am in my relationships, the food I eat, my verbal expression, just to name a few. The more I deepen my relationship with myself and the more I feel the love that I am and feel my body responding to this level of ‘self-care,’ the more aware I am if my self-care needs further refinement.
So ‘self-care’ can never be about a set of rules and regulations that are fixed, because as we evolve and live with more clarity, we can feel the effects of all of our choices as they naturally change or drop away as we deepen the quality of our life. As the connection with ourselves deepens, certain things or behaviours do not match where we are at and can no longer be considered true ‘self-care.’
I had been heading for ‘purity’ (as I used to call it) since I was twenty years of age. I knew I wanted to live and feel clear and clean. I worked towards this from ideals and beliefs in my head and after ‘sticking to the discipline’ for a period of time, found myself always back to the destructive behaviours. It wasn’t until I listened to some interviews by Gayle Cue with the founder of Universal Medicine, Serge Benhayon, about ‘true self-care,’ that I really understood how to make these changes sustainable in my everyday living.
What Serge presented was very simple. Connect to yourself, your innermost self and feel the love that you are – that we all already are – and with every choice, ask if it is a ‘self-loving’ choice OR not. I simply started to make my choices from this place.
What really has helped me is the awareness that there is no in-between. Every choice is either from Love or not from love.
As soon as I had this realisation, I found that I could self-care from love – the love I have for myself – rather than from ideals. Therefore the changes became sustainable without trying or disciplining myself. This naturally led to living every day with a consistency that has deepened and brings me the love, joy, harmony, stillness and vitality that I now live with every day.
There is no perfection. I do not beat myself up when I make non-loving choices but instead just feel the consequences of that choice and look at ‘why’ I chose something ‘less than love.’
To come from the exhausted, emotional, non-committed place I was at in my body and my life, thinking I was ‘self-caring,’ to the place I am at now, has been a health revelation that speaks for itself.
By Mary-Lou Reed, Bendigo, Australia
What’s All the Fuss About Self-Care?
Self-Care and Learning to Respect My Body
503 thoughts on “Self-Care”
What a great place to make choices from, ‘Connect to yourself, your innermost self and feel the love that you are – that we all already are – and with every choice, ask if it is a ‘self-loving’ choice OR not.’
It is honouring ourselves and what feels loving and caring for ourselves, and this will be different for each person and where they are at, ‘ I have changed and continue to change the way I move, the thoughts I allow in, the way I exercise my body, the work I do, the way I am in my relationships, the food I eat, my verbal expression’.
Isn’t it interesting what we interpret self-care to be or even how it is interpreted around the world. For me I saw it as exercising, eating healthily, yet my body was signalling to me throughout that period that it wasn’t it.
Its only in the last few years that I am understanding what true self-care means, and like yourself, refining it as we realise. As the relationship with the body deepens, it requires more self-care and its amazing how the body responds.
Self-care to me is a personal relationship with you and your body, what works for one, isn’t of importance to another and the only way that discovery occurs is when we say yes to truly caring for yourself.
I’ve enjoyed this journey of self-care and looking forward to more; self-care is forever developing and deepening, it’s never stagnant.
That is so important in self-care, developing a relationship with our body and honouring its many messages, ‘ I started to develop a deeper connection with myself and my body.’
“Whilst these practices were important for me at the time as part of my self-care routine, I can now see that they were a counterbalance to the abusive behaviours.“ A great awareness to have, and something for me to look more deeply into, whether my self-care is countering other areas in the way that I live, or supporting me to deepen into more love and joy.
Its also good to discern where these pictures come from and if we are left feeling, not right, then we know that they are not good for the body. And at the end of the day do we need to have a picture of anything or how it needs to look like?..
“As the connection with ourselves deepens, certain things or behaviours do not match where we are at and can no longer be considered true ‘self-care.’” As each of us deepens the connection to our body and responds to what feels true for us, this shows that we cannot be in judgement or comparison with another with where they are at but offer inspiration or be inspired.
It is amazing that as we deepen our connection with our body we become more aware of what truly supports us at that point in time.
‘When I first started to feel a newfound love for myself and wanted to practice this in the way I lived through ‘self-care’. These 2 self-care and self-love are intrinsically linked. As the more we love ourselves the more we bring in or up the care and the more we care for ourselves we bring in or up the love and as you share they are both forever deepening and refining. I currently really feel a new level of self-care and self-love is needed in my life.
Self-care changes as we change. Simple. Listening to my body also simplifies the process. The mind is too complicated.
Yes to keeping it simple.
Our relationship with our bodies once we understand how we are all divine beings, opening us to being able to deepen in every aspect of life in the most self-caring and eventually Loving ways so we can reflect the true light of our essences / Souls.
Mary-Lou you make a very interesting point
That we can and do chose our behaviours based on what society call ‘normal’
I feel that currently ‘normal’ can mean anything goes as we are dropping our standards at such a rate. It’s now normal for children to watch pornography, have sex, drink alcohol, swear, be abusive, take drugs. Because this is now considered ‘normal’ because all their friends are doing it.
I love this conversation about the word normal – the difference between statistically common and natural. And yes the fact that we accept things as normal that are so not (your list above, Mary) simply because they are statistically common, is one of the madnesses of humankind.
The body communicates with us what is needed in terms of self care – hence learning to tune into and listen to the body is a great gift we can give ourselves, and this never ends in the capacity of detail we can deepen into.
Absolutely, a forever deepening relationship with our body, ‘The level of ‘self-care’ I now live continues to refine and deepen.’
The definition of self care deepens as we grow and there is a necessary adjustment to what once was self care.
Self care is forever deepening, ‘as my level of ‘self-care’ deepened, what was considered self-care a few years ago I can now feel as disregard.’
As we grow up society offers us some pretty awful reflections on how everyone is living and we just go along and follow the crowd. You could say we behave in many ways like sheep but actually they are more intelligent because if you filled up their water container with alcohol they won’t drink it.
I love your comment Doug. I can feel how the tick box of things to do is not present, all so easy in the world of self-care.
It is much worse for us to berate ourselves for doing something that is uncaring than the uncaring act itself. Honesty is one thing that we need to get ourselves back on track, but giving ourselves a hard time about our choices buries us further into our disregard.
Thank you Jennifer for this reminder. I have historically actually avoided honesty because I didn’t know how to do it without judgement and self-denigration. To accept and begin to learn that honesty is a gateway to learning, accepting mistakes as part of our learning makes such a difference.
A great reminder not to judge or beat ourselves up if we make an unloving choice, ‘I do not beat myself up when I make non-loving choices but instead just feel the consequences of that choice and look at ‘why’ I chose something ‘less than love.’’
How we care for and tend to ourselves can be and is very simple. If it comes with effort – I have to, or I must, then it is not based on care.
I can see reading this blog how self care can be a whole way of life and not just some ‘good’ or ‘virtuous ‘ things to do to counter the not so healthy choices.
Well said Andrew, true self care comes from within and not from some tick box exercise.
The key thing with self-care is its not so much about what you do but more importantly the quality in which you do it. And this quality is governed by your own connection with yourself. No one or thing can offer you that. It’s only a choice. And it starts with saying no to what is not loving and honouring of you.
Yes and the intention behind it..do we do things out of guilt or to offset the bad or store up brownie points that we can later ‘spend’ on self abusive things? Or does it come from a place of deep care and honouring of oneself and ones body?
Love it Joshua – this is so true, for we can say that we have been for a walk and hence ticked the box of having looked after the body and giving it exercise, BUT the true question remains about what quality the walk may have been done in? Was the body exhausted and needed to rest but the walk was something we said we just needed to do to get it off our to do list? Or was the walk done in a quality that regenerated the body or were we walking with our thoughts and frustrations? Etc etc. So good to review how we do things as it is so easy to slip into habits rather than true impulses that the body sends us continuously.
True Mary Lou, there is no in-between, we cannot compromise in love for ourselves and our body. And we can feel when we try to. With every caring choice for ourselves the body becomes more clear and pure which makes the messages more obvious and less easy to deny. ‘Every choice is either from love or not from love.’
Self-care is continuingly changing and what we see as self-care today or next year could be very different. I love what the author has written about connecting first and then making the decision on self-care from feeling what is love or not love.
To make everything we do a choice, and to make every choice we make an opportunity for re-connection and deepening.
Ah, pearls Chris! I just wish that would stay with me and that I could be reminded of this every day 😉 every moment in every day is indeed an opportunity to re-connect and deepen. Thank you!
To explore our relationship with self-care, which I understand as the relationship with myself and the level with which I care, respect, honour and love myself, offers a huge insight into any baggage, pictures and/or beliefs we carry. This exploration is the first ground for us to develop and deepen our relationship with ourself which is the foundation of our relationship with others and life itself.
This is a great blog very practical and real. It is the small steps we take with self-care that supports us greatly in life.
“Connect to yourself, your innermost self and feel the love that you are – that we all already are – and with every choice, ask if it is a ‘self-loving’ choice OR not” – thank you for this reminder. So simple.
Self care offers ourselves a deeper sense of empowerment, knowing and awareness of life. Our inner being, our spirit does not want us to awaken and reconnect to our Soul and hence why there has been so much focus to bastardise what self care means. The trick is in the fact of what sounds good and healthy and what you truly feel from your body. Whilst something may sound great, it does not mean it is in anyway supportive or loving for our body.
This is evolution in action, realising that its an ongoing process one step at a time and never resting on a particular way of living as being ‘it’…. our sensitivity grows, we access more, so its natural that the way we live should continue to develop to support that.
There is so much in releasing the belief that there is an end goal, right way or ‘it’ as you say… when I let myself consider that life is an always ongoing development, I get a strong wave of inspiration about our potential and the richness of learning on offer.
For me self-care is when we honour how our body feels after we either drink, eat or do something that no longer feels honouring or self loving, and when we feel the changes in our body we are able to feel into what it is that makes us crave certain foods, and we get the opportunity to change how we live which then negates the need for those foods, drinks or activities.
Great blog Mary-Lou, you’ve shown us that self-care deepens and changes as the quality of our connection with our body and ourselves deepens.
I agree that self care does not have to come from discipline or denial but from self love and connection with our inner most.
As we deepen self care with ourselves we also raise the bar on a level that we will not go below, setting ourselves standards which we simply won’t compromise on.
Within very thing there are options. For example, within alcohol, you have red wine and you have tequila. You may find people that say they take care for themselves and that is why they have red wine and avoid tequila. And, it would be no valid argument for them to accept that drinking wine cannot be consider self-care. That is why we have to understand the notion of self-care. In Spanish we have translated it by caring for the Being (‘cuidado del Ser’).
This eliminates from the self-care menu anything that does not start with appreciating our being and cherishing it.
It is interesting and I like the way that you have put side by side the changes and dedication to living a more healthy life-style along with drinking alcohol – because it was normal. When the two together do not really make sense, surely you are either living a healthy life-style which by all common sense would not include drinking alcohol, or you are not living a healthy life-style? I feel that the trick is in labelling what is healthy to suit our own needs – even when it is blatantly obvious what true healthy actually is.
When we do things from a functional motivation, we quickly run out of steam unless, of course, we then make the discipline of doing it into another way of getting recognition from others. It is all very different when the motivation is love and comes from within, though.
‘There is no perfection. I do not beat myself up when I make non-loving choices but instead just feel the consequences of that choice and look at ‘why’ I chose something ‘less than love.’ This is how we do it on our return path back to Soul, just be open to learning along the way, and making the refinements we feel to make by listening to our body.
This blog shows that self-care can never be a recipe or one size fits all formula but has to be personal depending on where every person is at based on their own awareness of where their body is at.
Very true Andrew, we all seem to have different levels of self-care and the key is to honour what our body communicates to us and allow it to guide us in our journey of self-care. Also, to be open to continuously deepen and expand to the next level of self-care.
Serge Benhayon delivers truth and wisdom like no other – as he expresses there is a vibration that is felt within the body (if open to feel it), it’s like something being re-aligned and re-configured to that which is already known. This is the re-connection back to the innate innermost self and love… “What Serge presented was very simple. Connect to yourself, your innermost self and feel the love that you are – that we all already are – and with every choice, ask if it is a ‘self-loving’ choice OR not. I simply started to make my choices from this place”.
Over the last couple of days I have made some quite significant changes to my diet, what I have had to admit to myself is what to most would be considered a reasonably healthy diet was abuse to my body, a constant daily abuse that I was and to some extent still am putting my body through. It is not until we get really honest about our choices and the way that we are living can we start to see all the pockets of abuse we live with and as we change one area to be more self loving another area of abuse shows itself to be dealt with.
‘The more I deepen my relationship with myself and the more I feel the love that I am and feel my body responding to this level of ‘self-care,’ the more aware I am if my self-care needs further refinement.’ This is a great reminder Mary-Lou that self-care is always evolving and needs constant refining to support us to live in line with our Soul.
When we are exhausted coffee does actually feel like a pick me up of liquid gold. I drank coffee and did shift work for years so I completely understand why people drink it. I also used to get an all mighty horrid headache if I didn’t have it and went into withdrawal – which sometimes left me thinking if not having it gives me a headache like this what is drinking multiple cups a day actually doing to my body…
I love this step by step approach. The way that a step towards self care now, can become redundant if we keep stepping deeper and deeper inside ourselves, becoming more sensitive to what our body needs, what supports it.
And doing it step by step means that it doesn’t come from any ideals, beliefs or rigid wellness plan but from the truth of looking after and caring for self.
The ultimate care for our self is the knowing that we are not a self but part of a grand stupendous whole of which that which we call ‘self’ must be cared for by virtue of it being a part of this.
This is a biggie – “As soon as I had this realisation, I found that I could self-care from love – the love I have for myself – rather than from ideals. Therefore the changes became sustainable without trying or disciplining myself.” So often our self-care, if we are honest, does come from a trying or a discipline (I have done that often) and I think this is the key as to why it is rarely long-lasting (unless you are a ninja at discipline). When our self-care comes from love, it is far more sustainable.
“‘self-care’ can never be about a set of rules and regulations that are fixed, because as we evolve and live with more clarity, we can feel the effects of all of our choices as they naturally change or drop away as we deepen the quality of our life.” Yes, this has to be about the body, come from and through the body not our head as a willed process. Building that relationship offers a foundation and a platform that ensures it is also constantly deepening and evolving rather that staying stuck and forced.
There is always something more we can do to deepen the way we care for ourselves when we learn to listen to and connect with our bodies.
The question is, “Could what was considered to be self-care in the past, now be considered as disregard or self-abuse?”
I would say yes as I can feel how easy it is to abuse the body knowing that what I’m doing is harmful and is a way to sabotage myself this is very abusive and premeditated and an old pattern which has been exposed reading this blog.
It feels that the art of self-care is something that we can deepen in our lives, for all of our life.
Self-care has become a more populair topic also in the workplace. Lots of organizations offer their employees a healthy food choice in their restaurant, encourage people to move enough and sleep enough. But none of them consider the quality in which we do things and how important being connected to our body is, let alone that self-care keeps deepening.
I can feel how my current level of self care is no longer supporting me and that not deepening my self care is indeed abuse. It feels so lovely to have this awareness and feel how much we can always deepen the care we have for ourselves.
‘What really has helped me is the awareness that there is no in-between. Every choice is either from Love or not from love.’ yes and when it is bought to the simplicity of this it can easily be worked with, with an ongoing deepening awareness and refinement of our choices.
It’s quite a leap to let go of the information we have taken on about a healthy lifestyle to actually listen to the body. I was one of those people very up to date with nutrition and general health, however all the ideals and beliefs I have held have had to be let go of so that my body can communicate what it wants. It’s ironic really that we have so much external information about caring for the body but we don’t consult with the actual body.
A beautiful blog in showing how our level of self-care changes when our awareness increases and that it is forever being refined.
There comes a point when not considering others in everything that one does it is a lack of self-care.
Love this point Alex… a depth in this that shows a point of evolution where self care becomes about so much more than looking after oneself. It becomes about responsibility.
Important to expand our understanding of true self care and the responsibility that comes with it. It absolutely is not about us, but all of us and a moment of grace when we become aware of what our true purpose is.
Quite often the development of self-care is a gradual improvement from harming behaviours to less and less harming behaviours to more and more supportive and loving ones and so on. We identify and let go of the layers of disregard and restore a self-honouring approach and practice, in that process we also re-discover ‘self’, the true self, and the more we unveil it the more we can recognise what doesn´t belong and therefore is in disregard of our true being; that´s why self-care is forever evolving as it needs to be adjusted to us becoming more of the self we truly are.
Self-care is part of an ever-deepening relationship with oneself whereby the sense of self as well as the means of care are consistently evolving.
Agreed and it makes so much sense because we are discovering layers upon layers of patterns of behaviour that might well be a coping mechanism as opposed to a self-loving practice and this does not reveal itself straight away because it would be exposing and leave us feeling vulnerable. Ever-deepening is the tender and loving way to unpeel and discover those potential deeper layers.
Thank you Mary-Lou, what I once considered as self care, and it may have felt like it at the time, has now evolved and feels like it’s ever evolving based on what my body shows me. It might be the way I adjust my posture, move gently and with consideration to my body, or even skipping a meal if my body needs space from food. It’s not necessarily a set thing but felt and explored as directed by my body. It’s a bit like being a scientist and experimenting with what works and truly feels loving for the whole body and being.
Commitment to life has to begin with a commitment to self first otherwise we burn ourselves out. I am committing to all areas of life like never before taking myself to places and doing work that I would not have truly considered had I not come across Universal Medicine. What I am realising is that the newly commitment life can expose where I am at if I am not taking a loving approach towards myself but I know that what comes my way and I say yes to I am more than equipped to deal with unlike the uncertainty in the past which nudged me to avoid committing to life. It is a question of giving to me first and not to that which is outside of me in all that I do and wherever I go.
I love this blog because it reminds me how important it is to look at why we choose what we choose. I know this is something I avoid and I can see that instead of trying to avoid the foods that don’t support me I could focus on observing why I want these foods in the first place.
The ultimate form of self care is not purely about self at all but a knowing that the quality of how one lives has an impact on everyone
Yes Joshua, this is the essence, I know for sure the depth and beauty of the relationship I have with my client flows from the same love and care I have for myself.
I have always been “trying” to care for myself, but in all the trying, I seem to be putting myself into a low level of stress, which ironically is probably more harmful and constant than the things in life I have been trying to “avoid”. Lately, I am letting go more, observing life and rather than trying to be perfect, I am just being me, in this, I feel my self-care is actually the best it has ever been in my life, for although I am eating things I shouldn’t, staying up later than I know is right and doing things I know are possibly harmful, I am not beating myself up and I am actually allowing my body to indicate and communicate what it feels about every given situation, rather than my mind controlling the show from a knowledge of what I think is self-care.
I love what you have shared here Sarah regarding the approach of letting go of the control with self care. I can absolutely relate to this and feel like when I shoot for ‘perfection’ in making loving choices I am merely setting myself up for disappointment and self criticism when I slip up, rsther than simply allowing myself to observe and feel everything that is going on for me with understanding and by just being me, knowing that that is enough.
Yes, it is actually really challenging to let go of the image we have of “self care” and connect to its true meaning, which to me is allowing the body the space to communicate.
True self-care begins when we allow ourselves to live by the impulses of our Soul and not the impulses of our spirit. It is therefore fundamental to our evolution that we know and discern the difference between these two modes of expression. It is the ‘son of man’ returning to his/her rightful position as a Son of God and thus making the necessary adjustments to live accordingly,
To add to the above –
The spirit has its own version of ‘self’ that has very little to do with our true self that is our Soul. When we self-care, we need to be very aware which self it is we are ‘caring’ for.
Powerfully expressed Liane. The path towards true self care unfolds with many twists and turns beginning with simple, practical steps, deepening and becoming more aware as we go. What you share here is the ultimate understanding of the journey we’re on.
Beautifully shared Liane, and it makes so much sense that harmful choices ‘care’ for the spirit to maintain its waywardness and individuality. The true self care nurtures the connection to the soul and the ability to live from its love and truth everyday.
I agree, self-care is an evolving process, ‘ as my level of ‘self-care’ deepened, what was considered self-care a few years ago I can now feel as disregard.’ I have noticed the same as I deepen my self-care.
“…. Every choice is either from Love or not from love.” So true Mary-Lou, and as you mention later there is no striving for perfection either. Learning to bring ourselves understanding rather than judgement (which supports no-one) is something I am currently leaning when I mess up.
Thank you Mary-Lou as your story is one of the thousands of people who have started to walk upon the truth from inside them.
Self-care is not a punctual action, it is a pattern of movement you choose or not.
Self-care is much more than a few routines or rituals, they are just the outer manifestations (if they are) of an inner connection based on love, self-worth and self-appreciation.
When we love and value ourselves self care is a natural part of our lived way.
I agree it is a forever evolving process, ‘The level of ‘self-care’ I now live continues to refine and deepen.’
My self-care continues to evolve every day and what I thought was loving years ago and was in fact great years ago, is now things I would never do now. If self-care is ever put in a box, you know it is not true, it must continue to grow, as you grow.
Self-care and the new definition is a huge sigh of relief from the body…. Letting go of all the stringent rules and practises (that were always an uphill battle to achieve) and say hello to space and feeling what’s next, it is a lifelong experiment….. some things work, others don’t…… easy & simple.
Self-care is an aspect of life often overlooked beyond the normal hygiene, but as a continual development of tending to self it becomes a tool for being who you are in a world that often wants you to be someone else.
“The question is, “Could what was considered to be self-care in the past, now be considered as disregard or self-abuse?” Wow, what a thought-provoking question to consider about our lives and how we choose to live them.
Thanks Mary-lou… And one of the best statements that you make is at the end where you say that you do not beat yourself up when you make mistakes… This is one of the great foundations of self-care and self-love.
Health is matter of option, depending on who you talk to and what stage of their life you talk to them in. The one constant I have learned about health, is that it is forever changing, self-love and care is a part of that constant unfolding. You beautifully paint your development through this descriptive evolution.
It’s great how you say that from instigating and developing a greater connection with you and your body and care for it that harmful behaviours started to naturally fall away – so rather than just tackling the harmful behaviour by using pure discipline to stop it you gave yourself a new foundation that unrooted the energy behind the behaviour.
I like the way you share your Self-care process here Mary-Lou, as it shows there is no perfection in it, but instead an ongoing exploration of what best supports you. In my experience I feel the same, there is no end in the deepening of Self-care in my life as well as there is no end in the love I can offer to myself. It’s amazing allowing ourselves to walk this growing path of self-honouring and self-respect.
I find self care is a forever deepening process that is unique to everyone and their movements. I find it’s a constant refinement of the way in which I move and also what feels right now for my body may change down the track; it’s all by how we feel and what is most supportive at the present moment.
‘With every choice, ask if it is a ‘self-loving’ choice OR not’, life would look very different if that question was at the forefront of all my choices.
Its as simple as do I listen to what my body is telling me, or do I override it?
Yes, and what does overriding it, eventually cause in the body?
Self care is constantly unfolding, evolving and changing; what I thought self care was even as little as a year ago has completely changed in recently. It is a beautiful journey of exploration.
I love the open ended-ness with which you have presented self care; that it is not a set of rules that can be applied to all of us, or in fact ourselves, since it is ever changing and developing in accordance with what is going on in our days, weeks, months, general health. We therefore get to build a relationship with our bodies that lets us be guided by what is needed… always learning and super cool.
“Connect to yourself, your innermost self and feel the love that you are – that we all already are – and with every choice, ask if it is a ‘self-loving’ choice OR not.” I love the simplicity of this, I am going to take this into my day and see if I can deepen my awareness to make choices that are more supportive and loving.
I agree Alison, it’s so simple to ask if it’s a self loving choice and feel the answer in the quality our body holds. Self love is an amazing foundation to live from everyday, and each day presents the joy of the possibility of living more love.
Interesting how we sometimes pick and choose when we take care of ourselves and when we don’t – this is something I have observed in myself.
So true, there are times when I can be mean and abusive towards myself and then others (especially when inspired by others) I can be deeply caring for myself and it feels super lovely.
Self care takes constant refining as our bodies show us the layers of disregard that need to be discarded.
Life is never static – it doesn’t remain the same, even though it’s the same day repeating itself over and over again. So, since we are governed by cycles it makes sense that self-care and how we are with ourselves needs to be constantly revisited as we are always coming back to markers and points in our evolution that either still support us or do not.
I too have noticed this – ‘The more I deepen my relationship with myself and the more I feel the love that I am and feel my body responding to this level of ‘self-care,’ the more aware I am if my self-care needs further refinement.’- and when I refine and honour that this needs to happen I am blown away how special this relationship with myself is. How this is the foundation to everything and the ripple effect that this has on all. So deeply powerful.
True self care is by its very nature self-sustaining and sustaining of the all.