Your idea of self-care might be as simple as showering when you’ve got little ones crawling the walls. It might be as basic as drinking enough water or remembering to eat. It might be as nurturing as a massage or some quiet time to yourself. But how it looks is inconsequential to your willingness to make it happen.
Yes, I can BS with the best of them and complain about all sorts of “reasons” why I’m rocking the self-neglect wagon. But at least I can smell my own BS. I know it’s all a lame justification for what’s really holding me back.
And of all the things I’m nice and gentle when I talk about – honey, this isn’t one of them.
So please allow me to speak the truth for a second here, especially if it means it might get you caring about yourself, finally.
Excuse #1: I don’t have enough time.
Bullshit. You have the same 24 hours in the day as everyone else. You’re just choosing to spend them on everyone else! Now, yes, there are ONLY 24 hours in which to do the myriad of things you think must be done, but this is more about “I’m bad at prioritizing my time”, or maybe “I’m not a priority to myself”, than not having enough. (I like to use this excuse too because time seems like such a good excuse, such an immovable object. But when I finally accepted that it wasn’t, my whole life expanded.)
Priority #1 is your health and well-being. This means it’s #1 on your To Do list. This means doing it before you do anything else. Yes, I’m serious. If a million dollars (or Chris Hemsworth – ahem) was on your porch waiting for your self-care regime to be done first before stepping through the door, you’d tackle that bad boy (the self-care, not Chris) at 6am. Why? Because you prioritize it! Stop waiting for an imaginary impetus to come along before you start prioritizing yourself.
The truth: You don’t have time NOT to. Everything you do when you feel like crap will take twice a long. Why do you think you get a break at work? Because any boss knows productivity goes down with self-care. So give yourself a break – every day – and you’re going to SAVE time. I promise.
Excuse #2: I don’t have enough money.
What this excuse really means is that you’re insisting your self-care look a certain way and that way must undoubtedly cost money. Massages. Babysitters. Date nights. Pedicures. Retreats. Art supplies. [Insert yours here.] Sweetheart, you’re using all those things as reasons to hurt yourself over and over.
Yes, that’s all you’re doing with that excuse…hurting yourself. Physically, emotionally, spiritually. Keeping your heart and soul tied around a dollar sign to determine your value. Keeping yourself locked in Scarcity Mode. Subtly telling yourself you’re worthless.
The truth: You don’t “need” those things. You need a little creativity. And the permission to use it. The permission to acknowledge a walk around the block while the kids are still in bed is okay to give yourself. Permission to buy yourself and your partner a dark chocolate bar and a Redbox movie after the kids go to sleep. Permission to allow messes to happen while you read a good book. Permission to do yoga with YouTube videos and trust your emails to wait a damn hour (or four). Permission to reallocate funds for your own sanity. Permission to say “I’m worth it” and then make it so.
Excuse #3: I don’t have the support.
Point blank: The people in your life support you in the exact manner you’ve taught them to support you. If you don’t like how they are showing up in your life, the first change that gets to be made is in your own habits, then in your boundaries, then in the way you communicate your needs to them. After all that (and only after all that), it may be time to make some tough choices, remove toxic relationships from your life, or lay it down for everyone. But please don’t get angry at them for doing what you’ve shown, through your own habits, is preferred to do – neglect and ignore you.
Excuse #4: I feel selfish when I take care of myself.
And so you use this as a reason to insist you don’t need anything, right?
You, dear sweet beautiful woman, are lying to yourself. You are a human being, and as such you have needs. Needs for good food and blissful rest. Needs for beauty, inspiration, excitement. Needs for honor, love, respect. Needs for autonomy, fulfillment, order. Yes, some of these needs are met through caring for others. But not all, and not always in the best way.
This doesn’t make you selfish. It makes you real. Welcome to the human race. Please stop making the rest of us look bad by insisting you need nothing. 😉
The truth: You are the most selfish when you are not doing what is necessary to make sure you feel fan-freaking-tastic and therefore are at full capacity. When your needs are met you have more to offer – more energy, more compassion, more patience, more creativity, more clarity. So stop holding yourself back, please. Your world needs you – WANTS YOU – at your best. Give yourself what you need so that you can keep loving everyone so unselfishly.
P.S. If you have younger women in your life – daughters, nieces, neighbors – please remember that you are teaching them THEIR self-worth by demonstration. So, if you won’t do it for yourself, can you trick yourself into thinking you’re “doing it for them”? 😉
We could go on and on….
But you and I both know that behind every excuse for self-neglect is a Wise Little Woman wagging her finger at you, telling you to knock that shit off.
And you and I both know that if your best friend came to you with the same excuse, you’d BE that Wise Woman and tell her she’s worth more than that.
Please, please, please…for the love of all that is good in your life (and all that could be good with a little more of your time and attention), treat yourself with some respect and honor your needs. No more damn excuses. You’re worth more than that.