Maybe One day I Will Practice Self-Care

What is self-care?

Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. 

My relationship with self-care is complicated to say the least. I understand what it is supposed to be, how it is supposed to be good, yet I cannot bring myself to engage with it or even talk about it.

Whenever my therapist asks if I am practicing self-care, I make a face akin to an impala realizing it has been found by the hyena that has been chasing it for the past week. In a way, I am running away from self-care. 

I used to think self-care was selfish, that it was only taking care of yourself, and not taking time to help or think about others. If you know me, selfishness is not something anyone would use to describe me. I put others before myself to a fault, and I believed that self-care meant I had to become a selfish person. 

It’s not even that I don’t want to be selfish, it is just that it’s not in my image and it’s not in the life I have built for myself. I have always put others before myself, whether this be through volunteer work or just being the “mom friend” and if I am to do anything that would be considered self-care, it would be considered selfish, at least in my mind.

Self-care has nothing to do with being selfish, it is about doing what is best for you and checking in with yourself, so you can live a fulfilling life. It also has nothing to do with trampling others and just lacking consideration for others. 

However, when you have spent your entire life giving to others, any act of giving to yourself is seen as selfish. Anytime you say “no” it feels like you’re letting someone down. 

I wish I could say I have gotten better at it. That I have been able to set boundaries and stick to them, but the truth is that accepting self-care might be harder than actually practicing it. In the end, I am not battling others, but only myself and my perceptions of what I am “supposed” to be doing. 

My boundaries may seem weak to some people, they are weak even to me, but they are a step in the right direction to taking my life back into my own hands. If that’s not self-care, then what is?