Updated: May 1, 2022
“The well-being of the herd is dependent on the well-being of every individual within it, and the well-being of every individual is dependent on the well-being of the herd.” ~ Jackie Lowe Stevenson
Caring for yourself is not selfish. It is, in fact, what allows you to make a positive contribution to the world around you. When we ourselves are happy and balanced, we are a joy to be around, and a positive force for those we come into contact with. And of course, the opposite is also true. We’ve all been on both ends of those experiences. Self Care is not necessarily an “act,” so much as an “attitude.” Certainly, it can include acts, but it is the attitude or intentions behind our actions - rather than the actions themselves - that determines the results. This is as true in our relationships with ourselves as it is in our relationships with others. If I’m coming from an attitude of lack, limitation, or opposition, then I’m coming from separation consciousness, win/lose mentality, and the results of my actions will appear accordingly. Win/lose always ends up being lose/lose, regardless of which side of that equation I’m on. If instead I’m coming from an inner place of harmony, honoring, and peace, win/win mentality, my actions will manifest results that bring more harmony for myself and others. For example, most of us think of exercise as an important part of self care, and indeed it can be, if we engage in exercise that’s appropriate for our bodies and that we truly enjoy. In my years of doing bodywork I’ve had many clients who are runners. The people who took up running for the sheer enjoyment of it, who truly loved doing it, never got injured. But the people who ran because they thought they had to in order to lose weight, get in shape, or be “good enough,” etc., always ended up hurting themselves and needing to quit- the underlying intention of self-rejection rather than self-love eventually brought results that required them to honor themselves. The body never lies, and we cannot live out of alignment with our authentic truth for long. Your relationship with yourself is the basis for your relationships with others, and it will be reflected in all your other relationships. "Compassion for others begins with kindness towards ourselves" (Pema Chodron). If you want to be kinder and more loving to others, be kinder to yourself. If you want to be less judgmental and more accepting of others, start with yourself. Ultimately, recognize that at our deepest level we are all One... how you treat others, you will treat yourself and vice versa; how you think of others, you will think towards yourself and vice versa. Peace and harmony in the world begin within each one of us, in the depths of our own minds and hearts. Self Care Suggestion: Pay attention to your attitudes and inner talk, and be kind. Know that it is enough to do your best in any given moment, and that your best will be different on a day that you’ve had sufficient rest, healthy food, and nurturing experiences vs. a day that you’ve been pushed to your limits trying to do too much, haven’t slept, or are under stress. Take care of you, and you will benefit everyone around you and all that you do.