Someone once told me that I did too much self care and that I was being selfish. In those days, like a fool, I listened. But we all have to start somewhere. Today, ten years later, and a whole lotta living in between, I have learned that self-care is NOT selfish. It is the best thing that a person can do for their SELF.
First of all, who in their right mind can tell another person what is sufficient self care for them? Self care is an individual choice. What is good for one, will not necessarily be good for another. I want to be clear when I speak of self care: I am not just talking about going to the spa or getting a massage. I practiced that level of self care for a very long time. It worked wonders, and I felt great afterwards. However, the feeling was temporary. I have since learned of a deeper practice in self care.
Now, this new lesson was not something I just stumbled upon one day as I was walking down the yellow brick road. It was something I discovered through the pain and suffering of not taking care of my soul. I was living out of alignment with the truth of who I am.
I was saying yes when I really wanted to say no. I was making decisions (especially as a mother) from guilt. I was selling my soul for the comfort of not making others uncomfortable. That lead me to the fetal postion, in pain and wondering how I got to this place.
The most difficult realization to swallow was that I was betraying myself. I was not living in integrity with myself. I realized that Integrity with self was the foundation for life. I was doing actions that were not in alignment with my purpose, my truth and simply my happiness. What a drag. When I had this realization, self care became not something that was nice and occasional, but something that my soul depended upon. It became a way of life. It was about living in alignment, in integrity.
I began to search for the wisdom that I knew I had within me. I had been ignoring that wisdom for the sake of keeping peace. I now had a new awareness that I could stop...listen...and choose. This awareness was not there before. Self care became about doing what I love, what makes me happy and what feeds my soul. It also meant setting boundaries where I had not set boundaries before...or I didn't even realize I needed a boundary!
If you are a mom, you will, at first experience guilt. Trust me, moms come with a guilt-o-meter, the higher the guilt score the more we sell our soul. My new practice with processing guilt is that when I felt guilt, I would acknowledge that feeling and remind myself with these new decisions to live in integrity with my soul, that I am making changes for my daughter and my daughter's daughter. That I am breaking limiting beliefs of unworthiness and putting everyone else first that were handed down to me from my ancestors. This empowered me to move through my guilt and towards that which would fill and fulfill my soul. If you want to be a better mom, do more self care. That doesn't make sense, right? What it has taught me is that I am now more present to my children. I actually want to play with them, and have time to do it. It is an interesting dichotomy that many mom's don't know about as it does not make logical sense. We don't have time to figure it out, because we are too busy taking care of everyone else!
One of my spiritual teachers, Michael Beckwith would often say, "give from the overflow." I did not understand that concept as I could barely fill my cup half full let alone overflow. But now I know and have experienced what that means, I have lived what that means. I am more patient, I have less anxiety when I put myself first. So you tell me, is that selfish?