Lately, I’ve been hearing more and more about the concept of “self-care,” so I will go so far to say that it’s “in.” How I have seen it defined is in the spirit of taking care of yourself so you may take care of others - “put your own mask on first,” as the safety speech goes. I’m all for this as I think we confuse being selfish with being good to ourselves. For me, the difference is rooted in the intent of the action and in respecting ourselves enough to take care of our body, mind and spirit.
Holding fierce to the rituals we know make us stronger fall into this category from candlelit soaks in the tub to yoga and meditation in the morning to a sugar scrub in between. Care. Yes, do that.
If this were a Venn diagram, the overlapping circle would be “self-love.” People confuse the two, but like most love-based relationships, self-love is more work. For example, we can be hating on ourselves for a missed goal yet still care enough to drink a green juice. Similar, but different.
Love is harder, requires honest conversations, begs forgiveness, brings stuff forward. Love demands faith and needs courage at times. Love is unconditional, not based on our last great moment. Love can be letting go or digging in, grieving or rejoicing, sometimes all at the same moment. Messy stuff.
We are really hard on other people (especially this last week, eh?), but we are even harder on ourselves. What would happen if we stopped focusing on who we think we *should* be and loved ourselves for who we are right here and now? What would happen if we loved our struggle and our scars? What would happen if we forgave ourselves?
Do the self-care stuff, get great sleep, go to yoga, drink the juice. Just don’t skip over the self-love piece. Look in the mirror and love that person and do what she/he needs. Because when those two circles overlap completely, there’s magic.