When people talk about the importance of self care, the analogy of the airplane oxygen mask is almost always mentioned. You know the one, you have to put your mask on first before you will be able to help anyone else. There are variations on this theme, the idea that you can’t fill anyone else’s cup if yours is empty; flowers can’t grow in barren soil; etc.
The not-so-subtle message behind these analogies is the only reason to fill your own cup, or put on your own damn oxygen mask, is so you will be able to take care of others. This message both frustrates and infuriates me.
It is true that we absolutely can’t take care of others well if we don’t take care of ourselves. Parents of young children or adult children with aging parents or caregivers of any kind understand this. You can only run on fumes for so long before you crash. This is truth.
AND, I would love us to change the message of self-care from one of doing it so we can serve others, to one of doing it because we are worthy and deserve to be cared for, ourselves.
It is a not-so-subtle difference in the message. If you are only taking care of yourself in order to care for others, you don’t need to feel worthy. In fact you be quite the martyr, only giving in to care for yourself when others insist, with the intention of only doing it so you can keep on running yourself ragged caring for others. You can stay stuck in this story of not-deserving, not-good-enough, unworthiness your whole life in fact, while still dabbling in bits of self-care, only as necessary. You could even claim that you do care for yourself! Win-win, right?
I don’t think so. And I bet you don’t really either.
What if you change your story about your worth, your value, your deservedness? What if you shifted your thinking to knowing you are good-enough, at all you do. Not perfect, good-enough. What if you let good-enough, be enough?
What would happen?
How could the rest of your life shift if you took that bubble bath, or walk, or enjoyed that quiet cup of tea or glass of wine, because you wanted to? Because you deserved to have that time to you?
How would others start to treat you if you treated yourself with respect? If you acted as if you deserve nourishing and respect and to be honored?
What if you realized you were a sacred being?
What would happen?
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