What Self-Care Really Means
Earlier this week, I posted Self-Care – You Are Your Priority. By the time I was done writing the first draft of that blog post, I had over two thousand words. So I decided to break that blog post into two separate posts (you are welcome). Here is the second part, delving deeper into what self-care really means to me. Perhaps some or most of this will resonate with you too.
Self-care is ultimately about loving myself. And in loving myself, finding and providing space where I can breathe. And it includes finding that time to think about what is important to me and ensure it is getting the space and respect it deserves.
Self-care is the ultimate act of self-love. First, I must teach myself that I am worthy of self-love. Self-love is a concept I struggle with partly because I am an adult survivor of childhood abuse and trauma.
Even if you aren’t an adult survivor, you probably struggle with this, so don’t let yourself off the hook just because you don’t fall into my category as an adult survivor of childhood abuse and trauma.
Self-Care is Self-First
Self-care really means self-love, and within self-love is putting yourself first. I had to learn that I am most important to myself. Those concepts were not what I was taught growing up. Abusers don’t want you to believe that you are important.
It makes it harder for them to manipulate and control you. I am still learning how my abusers corrupted my brain in that regard. And I am learning how to undo what they did so that I can thrive.
But what does that mean regarding self-care? It means that first, I had to come to terms with what happened to me. And then how much that affected how I view myself and show up for myself.
Showing up for myself now is understanding that I am an empathic, highly sensitive introvert. I have to be very strategic with whom I spend my time.
Gone are the days of the “more the merrier” mentality.
Now, I ask, “do I enjoy being around that person?” I am Marie Kondo-ing with people instead of things – who brings me joy? Those are the people I will spend time with.
Self-Care Means Boundaries
I wrote about boundaries in Tuesday’s blog, Self-Care – You Are Your Priority. I am writing about it here again because it is so important. I am now discovering what my boundaries are and implementing them. It is tough.
People liked me better before I started learning about and implementing boundaries – yes, that is my perception. But I think this is true based on what people have said to me. Sad for those people who think that way, but you know what? I like myself better now. And what I feel about myself is more important than what others think of me.
My boundaries are the foundational rights I have as a human being to be and feel safe. And understanding boundaries gave me the strength to say “no” to those things that do not feel good to me. I used not think I had the right to do that. But I do.
Boundaries are challenging to implement. Through societal pressure, family obligation, etc., we are taught that when we say “no,” we are being selfish. That is not true. I am not an expert in boundaries.
So, if you are interested in learning more, I highly recommend Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself by Nedra Glover Tawwab. (paid link)
Self-Care Really Means Saying No
Saying “no” can be one of the hardest things to do. We are so focused on our responsibilities and obligations that we forget to say “no.”
I have to force myself to count to five before I respond to a request mentally; otherwise, I will be “yessing” all over the place.
“Yessing” all the time leads to resentment and burnout. I know. I lived that life of saying “yes” to everything. But realizing I can say “no” has been a life-changing realization for me.
And you know what? No is a complete sentence. That guilt within me wants to explain why I said “no.” The reality is I don’t need to explain.
I still struggle with this, but there are nuances to things that I am working on figuring out. I am new to all of this.
People pushing back on my boundaries is the worst for me. I want to crumble and change my mind. Because that person has just told me what I could do to make them happy. OMG, I want you to be happy (and not mad at me). So, of course, I want to help them with their happiness. But then I am denying myself what I need.
Self-Care is Finding Your People
The other day, while talking with a friend, I realized that self-care means finding community. It is exhausting, that feeling that people you spend time with don’t understand what you are going through.
In my healing journey, I have felt alone. I know I am not, but there wasn’t anyone in my circle who truly understood what happened to me and how I am trying to heal.
I didn’t realize that I needed to find my people, but once I did, having my community, a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I don’t need to explain in detail what my challenges are. Or to explain triggers. It was and is a game changer.
If the idea of self-care is causing you to panic, as it once did for me, I highly recommend seeking a therapist. I was too overwhelmed at the beginning of my journey to figure this out. When you are ready to reach out for professional mental health assistance, I recommend Online-Therapy.*
*I receive compensation from Online-Therapy when you use my referral link. I only recommend products and services when I believe in them.
Daily Superheroism.com (dba Talia Fletcher LLC) is also a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.
Please note that I have not received any free products, services, or anything else from these companies in exchange for mentioning them on the site. The only consideration is in the form of affiliate commissions.
Self-Care – Find What Works
The most important thing is finding a way to practice self-care that works for you. It may take some time to figure out what you need to take care of yourself.
For example, it took me quite some time to realize that I need alone time as an introvert.
I did a lot of reading and soul-searching to determine what self-care means to me. It can take time. But if you are stressed and need something sooner, here is what I did – I stopped beating myself up.
It sounds simple, but it isn’t. As I was running around, I only thought about the things I didn’t accomplish. I had to tell myself to stop. And to focus on what I did accomplish. It is a step in the right direction.