Self-care has been at the top of my priorities for the past 2 years. But, although my life has significantly improved in that time, it’s also been a constant struggle.
Before embarking on this incredible, self-healing journey, I had never really thought about “self-care” in these specific terms. I knew I had difficulties when it came to taking care of myself, like feeding myself properly, but “self-care” is so much more than what most people think it is.
Looking back on (not just) my own experience, there are myths about self-care that we consciously or unconsciously carry that stop us from stepping up our game and showing up for ourselves.
Here are 5 myths that I had to kill about self-care to finally see durable change. Maybe you will find that and that you might have to let go of these false beliefs about self-care as well if you are to ever adopt healthier habits for good.
5 Myths about self-care you need to kill right now
Myth # 1: self-care is easy
Self-care is not all bubble baths and shiny rainbows. And this is the number 1 myth about self-care you need to kill right now.
Self-care is hard.
I don’t think you heard me the first time. Let me repeat that again: self-care is hard.
Heck, self-care even feels impossible, at times. (Honestly, I want to say most of the time, but don’t let me discourage you).
Self-care means waking up 30 minutes earlier every single day to stretch, even when you are so exhausted you don’t think you have it in you to even brush your teeth.
Self-care means saying no to this decadent dessert because you know eating too much sugar will make you feel like shit after, both physically and mentally.
The sooner you accept “self-care” for what it is, an impossibly difficult, challenging but oh-so-rewarding battle with yourself, the more likely you are to “succeed” and keep going.
Myth # 2: self-care is supposed to make you feel good right away
Another myth I see going around on the topic of self-care is that self-care is some abstract “thing” that feels good, looks good/tastes good, and that makes you feel better after you’ve done it.
That’s a lie.
Self-care does not necessarily feel good and self-care is definitely not always fun. Especially in the beginning, when you are a well of bad habits and have to build new, healthier ones from scratch.
Just because you went for one run today does not mean that you will feel like a warrior immediately afterward. Actually, you will probably feel like crap for the next couple of days, especially if you haven’t worked out in a while.
Self-care is not about what you do one time, today; self-care is about doing that thing today, tomorrow, and the next 100 000 days. (Yay! Lucky you!).
Then you’ll feel better.
Myth #3: self-care means the same thing for everyone
I wanted this to be the intro to this blog post, but I’ve talked about it already (in all my other posts about self-care), so I will keep it as my 3rd point…
… and so, what the hell is self-care anyway?
Self-care has become this trendy, buzzwordy thing that you hear everywhere, and that ends up meaning absolutely nothing.
“Self-care” is not a thing and it definitely does not mean the same thing for you, me, or your neighbor.
Okay, yes, maybe there are general elements of self-care that are common to us all, such as the need for regular movement (exercise/physical activity), a proper diet, and, you know, a decent place to live…
But there are also elements of self-care that are different for each person.
For example, self-care for me means writing. If I don’t write, I (not so) slowly lose my mind. I spent over a decade wondering if (believing??) I was neurotic and batshit crazy until I finally understood that if I write every day, then I feel fine.
I’m not saying that I write well or that I am some sort of undiagnosed genius. (Haha!).
I’m saying I need to get crazy words and thoughts out of my head and onto paper to keep myself in check and happy(ish).
That’s what I need but you might need something completely different. It’s up to each person to figure out what self-care means to them.
Myth # 4: self-care is only about you
Ok, so another myth about self-care you need to kill right now is that self-care is all about you.
I don’t know if I will do a good job explaining this one, or if it makes any sense at all… But I’ll try.
Yes, self-care is about the Self, in the sense that it takes a good level of self-awareness to give yourself what you need (versus what you want).
But self-care is also not about the Self. More often than not, self-care means getting your head out of your own ass and focusing on the people/world around you.
For example, self-care can mean helping those less fortunate than you (there is always someone less fortunate than you, no matter your situation), or dedicating a new project to someone you care about.
The problem is that we tend to focus on other people in the wrong way. Constantly obsessing over what other people think about you, or continuously dwelling on everything that is wrong with the world does not constitute self-care.
What would constitute an example of self-care, however, would be to figure out ways in which you can be of service to others. You know, to look for purpose and meaning beyond your little self.
A little book I find very useful is Man’s search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl. Check it out if you have time.
Myth #5: other people will give you permission to practice self-care
It is time you understood this: people don’t owe you anything. Ever.
If you wait for people to accept that you need time or space to take care of yourself and expect them to give it to you, you will most likely never manage to practice self-care.
So, another myth about self-care you should kill ASAP, is that you will get permission to take care of yourself.
The thing is, even if people around you say they support you, it does not mean that they actually will in practice. Do not blame them, they probably don’t even realize they’re hurting you. Also, other people, just like you, are struggling with their own issues. Just let them be.
It is up to you to give yourself permission and take what you need to take care of yourself. You are allowed to go after what you want and take what you need as long as you are not doing anything at the expense of other people.
Yes, this is me giving you permission right there. But it’s just symbolic: you still need to give yourself permission to put your well-being at the top of your priorities to finally see meaningful change in your life.
Ok, I’m done rambling now.
How has this “self-care thing” been working out for you?
Please don’t hesitate to leave me a comment on this post. I’m always looking forward to hearing other people’s opinions on these topics!
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Until next time 😊