Self Care

Self Care

This is the first of a series on the topic…

Don’t worry – I won’t bore you with the usual lecture on why self care is important.  I am also fully aware that you could probably recite to me an impressive list of self care tasks that you ought to be doing.  The million dollar question is: despite knowing these things, why are we doing such a terrible job of self care?  We make grand plans but our efforts seem to go off the rails eventually.

I believe the answer is something a colleague of mine discussed with me last year.  Self care is simply a manifestation of the core issue:  self love.  If we do not genuinely love ourselves, we will not have the true motivation to follow through on self care plans.  Many of us may bristle at this idea, insisting that we do love ourselves.  So how do we know if we are fooling ourselves?  What’s the evidence?  I believe there are a number of indicators we can explore:

  • Our relationships are unsatisfying.  Does it seem that you give all the time and everyone around you simply takes?  Is there a pattern of behaviors that you are not happy with but they have continued for years despite your protests?  Our loved ones learn how to love us based on how we love ourselves.  They take their cues subconsciously from our example so if we don’t like what we see in our relationships, we need to step back and take a look at ourselves.
  • Our physical health is suffering.  When we do not love and value ourselves, that lack is internalized physiologically and manifests as legitimate health problems.
  • Our emotional health is poor.  Anxiety and depression are often symptoms of a lack of self love.  If we do not genuinely value ourselves, we are forever at the mercy of what we can get from others.  While we need relationships, when our self worth comes solely from human relationships, we are in a perfect setup for emotional dysfunction.
  • Our automatic thoughts are unkind.  We all have that running commentary in our heads.  Stop and take notice of how you talk to yourself.  Would you say those same things to a loved one?

Awareness is the first step on this journey and it is not unusual for clients to come in with one presenting problem, yet realize that their issues have an underlying source which must be addressed.  In our next post, we will take a look at the foundational principles that must be honored for a successful dive into these deeper waters.

If this discussion intrigues you – reach out to us!  We are always forming therapy groups and this is a popular topic.

Find part two here

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