Everyone preaches the importance of self-care. It allows you to continue providing the best possible love and care to those around you. But fuck that, man!
How about self-kindness instead? Because I am worthy of taking care for the sake of myself. (This clarity comes from my beautifully wise and brilliant friend, Yael.)
I remember when the kids were really small, I’d sign up for online courses about how to be a better or happier mama. Self-care, they’d hammer into our heads! That’s the key to everything!
Inevitably, I would email the person running the course and ask how they managed to find the time/space/whatever to do the care that they talked some much about. The worst and most frustrating answer from one person was that she just did it and that’s what I have to do too. Entirely unhelpful, lady, thanks for taking my money and giving me absolutely nada in return.
What about the people with anxieties? Or limited funds? Or partners with crazy work schedules? Or depression? Or, you know, life that just wants to stand in the way of the supposedly easy to come by three hours to get a massage (ugh! strangers touching me…no thanks!) or practice yoga? How do those people fill themselves up so they can function in the situation they’re in?
I decided to do an experiment for the past couple weeks and just write down things as I do them and how they make me feel. No judgement really…just a yes, this fills my cup or a not so much. Over time, I’ve realized that there’s nothing I do that’s bad for me…in a sense. I can do anything. I just have to be mindful that there’s such a thing as too much of a good thing (2 cups of tea are lovely, more than that leads to a headache which doesn’t lend itself to pleasure) or that there’s a wrong time for things (scrolling Instagram is a fun way to pass time in the afternoon after the kids are otherwise occupied but stressful first thing in the morning when everyone wants something).
I’ll post my list later this week and as I add more. The new goal is to gently nudge myself in the direction of doing more of the things that fill my cup and less of the things that don’t. There is no punishment or guilt because these are just things I do on a daily basis. They are things I can do no matter what the Engineer’s schedule looks like or the weather or availability of funds or how the kids are feeling or what they are doing.
I’m looking forward to seeing how this goes.