For a long time, I mixed up self-care with self-indulgence. I thought in order to treat myself well, I needed to give in to my every want and craving, even when it wasn’t healthy or a smart thing for me to do at the time. This is treating myself right, I thought, as I grew more and more unsatisfied. I became less content than when I was imposing strict discipline on myself. I didn’t understand why giving in to all my desires was making me more unhappy than before.
I knew that this self-indulgence wasn’t the means to happiness, but I didn’t understand why. Now I realize- self-care is more than luxuries and spoiling yourself. Self-care is treating yourself with love, building a better future you. Just as a parent enjoys giving a child toys, the parent must also impose certain disciplines (hello, 8pm bedtimes) in order to properly care for their child. In the same way, disciplining myself isn’t necessarily a negative thing.
I love what Meg Fee has to say about this topic:
I’m investing in self-love. Of the radical persuasion. Which has much to do with forgiveness. And setting boundaries. Forgiving myself for not being all places at all times. For needing time that belongs just to me. Which means saying no, even when so much of me wants to be accommodating and generous and say yes and yes and yes again.
So yes, maybe self-care involves bubble baths and naps. But maybe it also involves setting a bedtime to give myself a joyful next morning. Maybe it involves running a few times a week to get some endorphins. Maybe it involves eating great food for the sole purpose of loving myself well. It definitely involves alone time for me to think and process.
Self-care isn’t always the easiest. It’s difficult to distinguish in the moment whether self-care is doing what I want or what I really need.
I’m choosing to care for myself, slowly and surely.