Care of the self is important. Your self needs to be cultivated with care. Not to do this is to neglect, and to leave the self unprotected in this old world. Self care may not come naturally; it can be learned. For some people, the notion of being one’s own emotional self-protector and cultivator can be new and different.
If you’re lonely, confused, sad, or disturbed – those are times for self care. Yet those aren’t the only times it’s needed. Self care can be cultivated all over the place. It’s a concern for the self, a way of encouraging, believing in yourself. For if you are not on your own side, who will you count on?
Self care is not mere self-indulgence; it’s allowing that you have valid human needs and respecting them – needs for connection, enjoyment, love, interest, or pleasure. This idea includes creative self-challenge as well as self-nurturing.
For those who are made nervous by change (this includes you, me and everyone) a new, deeper commitment to self care can be scary. Often this signifies a fear of self-punishment, reprisal, or retribution if one were to treat oneself better. Such a feeling often shows a belief that you somehow don’t deserve to live, enjoy the pleasures of life, or appreciate relationships; a soul-destroying belief that one has to perform tasks to some standard before being of value as a person. Yet, where would such a demand end? When would one be good enough? People with
such beliefs are frequently bossed around by a critical inner voice that is never satisfied; it is truly a voice of anxiety – fear of living, of facing discomfort or challenge, of being responsible for oneself.
Self care is about finding stuff that gives you pleasure; accepting your ordinary needs and cultivating them, and realizing they express much about who you are; that’s valuable.