Vulnerable Words: Self Care vs. Self Indulgence

Can You Afford It?

I grew up in a large family and my mum stayed at home to look after myself and my six other siblings. We had a childhood that was pretty awesome and when I think back to that time, self-care was never a subject that we heard mum talk about and it certainly was never modelled.

Money was tight at times and mum was a beautiful example to us of selfless love. Did I notice my mother overwhelmed? Yes. And my father too, for that matter. Did they do their absolute best, with what they had and knew. Without a doubt. I believe that they didn’t practice, self-care, partly out of selfless love, but mostly because it had never been modeled to them.

Considering the generation before had been through the war and depression, there was a broadly accepted view of ‘just get on with it’.

Today people say “Have a cup of concrete, and get over it!” people are called ‘princesses’ and considered ‘painful’ if they appear to have any issues with coping.

This is not OK.

We need to become a genuinely caring society, before its too late.

We have become a society of “I don’t have time to deal with that, so I will pretend it doesn’t exist or I will look the other way and change the channel.”

I am all for not wallowing in the past, but if you are trying to exist in circumstances that are unsustainable to your mental or physical health, then this approach can only last for so long before something gives.

Sadly, I believe that most of the problems experienced by society are a direct by product of mismanaged pain. For generations now, people have been modeling either poor self-care strategies or none at all. The human body can only withstand torture, for so long and then it takes measures to try and exit that pain and it does not stop until the solution appears. Welcome to rock bottom.

What does rock bottom have to do with a solution to pain? Everything!

Sadly our own stupid pride stands in the way of actual solutions while it thinks – I can do it on my own!

We are never ever meant to be alone, not even in our own head, we are meant to be connected with a community, a tribe, a family, friendships and support.

Why am I writing about torture and pain when this is supposed to be about self-care?

Mental anguish is torture, an unsustainable lifestyle is torture, unresolved understanding of ones past trauma is torture, and the addictions and mental health issues we as a society are experiencing is the end result of misunderstood pain and struggle.

Self-care in this day and age is making a comeback but still something has still gone astray. There is a view still being held, that self-care is selfish.

Are there people who are selfish? ABSOLUTELY! Are there people who take self-indulgency to the extreme? YES! (e.g. Kim Kardashian) Have the lines been blurred by popular TV? YES! Therefore with no normal or sustainable model being presented to people, why would people feel like it was important, affordable or achievable.

So I ask you to understand properly, what is self-care and why is it so vital?

Self-care needs to be a way in which you reconnect with yourself in a very basic way, daily. Think of it like putting yourself on the charger at night, except it doesn’t have to be at night. It can be implemented into any part of your day and take whatever form you need it to take, eg gym or walk in the morning, be creative and imaginative and it doesn’t have to cost a thing. Carving out of space from all who put demands on you, dramatically increases ones capacity in all aspects of life.

It is not a reward, as people can then use this time to justify away behaviours that may not be contributing positively to their life, eg addictions.

It is a space in your day that is just yours. No one will ever come along and hand it to you and if you are waiting for things to settle down before you can implement this time, then don’t, because things will never settle down in your life, until you start showing up for yourself. Not, as I said, in a selfish way, but in an absolutely vital, self-preservation type way!

Practicing self-care doesn’t mean you will suddenly have no more problems in life. What it does is creates space. Mental space, reserves you need to have ready when the problems of life arise. If you are already running at maximum capacity or above as a lot

If this makes no sense to you and you think Im being dramatic, then please understand this is no joke. This writing comes, as a cautionary tale and it almost had the most tragic of endings.

I no longer focus on the money or time I lost. I have learnt the lesson and am grateful for the blessings of my husband and 6 children and humbly act in the space of bridging the gap between the struggle and when people seek help.

I do this by meeting people where they are at. Being comfortable to say when I need help in the everyday and being brave enough to be vulnerable so that others may find their way out of the struggle.