Self-care, or lack thereof, has been a common topic in my coaching sessions.
Frequent but not limited to women, the idea of tending to our own needs seems to be associated to a mix of guilt and shame, as if we were not meant to be included as recipients of our own time and attention.
I see helping each other and giving your time and heart to others as the major reason for our co-existence in this world. It evokes growth and happiness. There is no question that affections should be spread thick. Loving is the best invention – way before sliced bread jumping hot from a toaster and ready to be topped with melting butter.
Why can’t self-love be included? There is nothing wrong with being your self bestie.
I mean, I for one have always put my kid first. Family is the top priority for me. Work is up there too. My problem is the organizational glitches that result in the common statement:
“I have no me time.”
Is that because you’re not at the top of your to do list? How about creating a “to be list”? Maybe self-care is not even on the list at all. Perhaps your meditation, your bubble bath, your exercising, your skin care mask, your reading in peace with a warm cup of cocoa or a lemonade on the rocks, your watercolor painting or playing the piano rank number 15, way below rearranging your client mailing list, cleaning up your medicine cabinet, scrolling your feed to find that funny meme to forward to a friend you haven’t seen in 10 years on international friendship day, or finding a new mousse recipe because the last one wasn’t a big hit.
One common consequence I see with coachees lacking self-care is some level of stress in their relationship with the people around them. The need grows if not fed, and you may expect others to fill it for you. You make dinner after a long day at work and get upset if the Chicken alla Florentina doesn’t get a 5 star review when compared to the one you ate at a restaurant in Florence. Or even a smile. You blame others for not appreciating you and your efforts. And sometimes they see through you indeed – so used to your devotion that you become a bit invisible. And that hurts so much, resentment happens, and all sorts of valid feelings deserve attention. Arguments or isolation may happen. Obviously, you cannot control other people’s actions, but sometimes it’s not all about them. Your expectations may become demanding too. They see someone giving not out of pleasure, but charging high for the “selfless” actions.
Who is not appreciating you in the first place? Is the person in the mirror a friend? And what message does that send to others? Up to a degree, of course, don’t we teach people how to treat us? Is it really all 100% about them, or maybe the void got too big and our need for approval became too outsourced?
Of course, self-care has a lot to do with what makes you happy, but it’s beyond that. All the things I just mentioned can make us happy. In different degrees, your family appreciation at dinner makes you happy, seeing your pantry organized can make you happy. Heck, my pretty notepad full of daisies and lemon slices makes me happy. Both floral and fruity?
However, what I would like to emphasize when I mention self-care is the component of things that not only make you happy, but where you get to take center stage. Things that both soothe and energize you. Those things that make you better equipped to care for everyone and everything else around you. They get the best version of you and you are in a better place to ask for what you need from them.
And that makes self-care a necessity, a service to those you love. Including yourself.