Self-care is often a very un-beautiful thing
It is making a spreadsheet of your debt and enforcing a morning routine and preparing yourself healthy meals and eating mindfully (not on the run) and no longer just running from your problems and calling the distraction a solution.
It is often doing the ugliest thing you have to do.
Like sweating through another workout.
Or telling a toxic friend you don’t want to see them anymore.
Or getting another income stream so you can have a savings account or figure out a way to accept yourself so that you’re constantly exhausted from trying to be everything, all the time and then needing to take deliberate, mandated breaks from living to do basic things like drop some oil into a bath and read Marie Claire and turn the phone off for the day.
A world where self-care has to be such a trendy topic is a sick world.
Self-care should not be something we resort to because we are absolutely exhausted we need some reprieve from our own relentless internal pressure.
True self-care is not salt baths and chocolate cake. It is making the choice to build a life you don’t regularly escape from.
And that often takes doing the thing you least want to do.
It often means looking your failures and disappointments square in the eye. It is not satiating your immediate desires.
It is letting go. It is choosing new. It is disappointing some people. It is making sacrifices for others. It is living a way other people won’t, so maybe you can live in a way that other people can’t.
It is letting yourself be normal. Regular. Unexceptional. It is sometimes having a dirty kitchen and deciding your ultimate goal in life isn’t going to be having abs and keeping up with your fake friends.
It is deciding how much of your anxiety comes from not actualizing your latent potential, and how much comes from the way you were being trained to think before you even knew what was happening.
If you find yourself having to regularly indulge in consumer self-care, it’s because you are disconnected from actual self-care, with very little to do with “treating yourself” and a whole lot to do with parenting yourself and making choices for long-term wellness.
It is no longer using your hectic and unreasonable life as justification for self-sabotage in the form of liquor and procrastination. It is learning how to stop trying to “fix yourself” and start trying to take care of yourself… and maybe finding that taking care lovingly attends to a lot of the problems you were trying to fix in the first place.
It means being the hero of your life, not the victim.
It means rewiring what you have until everyday life isn’t something you need therapy to recover from.
It is no longer choosing a life that looks good over a life that feels good.
It is giving the hell up on some goals so you can care about others.
It is being honest even if it means you aren’t universally liked.
It is meeting your own needs so you aren’t anxious and dependent on other people.
It is becoming the person you know you want and are meant to be.
Someone who knows that salt baths and chocolate cake are ways to enjoy life – not escape from it. (Thank you Brianna Wiest)
Brianna Wiest is a writer and partner at The Thought & Expression Co.,
By Lynnie Stein / December 2, 2019