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Self care has become a basic need in today’s world. We are learning that the relationship we have with ourself is by far the most important and valuable relationship we will ever have.  Our ability to relate to ourself reflects our ability to interact with others and the world around us.  

Self care is not selfish.  It is not something that is shameful.  It does not mean we are a narcissist.  Instead, it is the antidote to narcissism.  It is about being grounded and present in our own body, aligned in mind, body and spirit.  It is about knowing ourself so well and caring about ourself so much that there is no room for narcissism, self sabotage or toxic relations.

Caring about ourself means that we no longer give our power away to others.  We no longer allow others to take advantage of us.  We no longer act as a people pleaser who needs others to like us.

Self care is a journey, a practice, an art form. It is a destination. It is lifelong.  The art of self care is about loving ourself enough to have boundaries in our life, to feel safe with the choices we make, to understand our own limits, as well as our potential.  Loving ourself is about being love.  Whatever that means to each one of us.

For years I did not practice self care.  I did not love myself enough to walk away from relationships that were toxic, jobs that constricted me, environments that stifled my growth…People gave me their best wisdom but with phrases like “heal your inner child” I didn’t know what they were talking about.  I stayed stuck.  It has taken me a multitude of experiences and aha moments to put the puzzle together and to understand what it means to practice self care.  

For me, self love is having unconditional love for myself so that I can offer it to others in an authentic and meaningful way.  It is about understanding where I end and something else begins whether it be a person, place or thing.  It is about knowing what feelings expand me and having the tools to manifest those expansive feelings. It’s about feeling alignment in my mind, body and soul.

To know thyself is to love thyself.  Self care is all about recognizing your own value.  Knowing that you are perfect exactly as you are.  Understanding that there isn’t right or wrong.  Those are labels we give things that have whatever meaning we attach to the label.  Self care is about recognizing the power within yourself to create your own life.

Caring for ourself is about getting right with ourself.  Doing this guarantees you clarity and freedom from struggle.  Who wouldn’t want that?  

Self care refers to doing the work on yourself.  With yourself.  For yourself.  This work is no one else’s business but your own.  It is work that you do with the best version of yourself.  The one that has your back.  The one that knows what you truly need.  The one that is in your head cheering you on.  The part of you that is infinite.

What does the best version of yourself look like?  Only you know for sure, but that best version of yourself is who you want to care for.  That is the self you strategically invest in.  That is the self that represents your potential.  Invest in feeling great about yourself.  Anything that does not serve your best self is a lesson in what you don’t want and an opportunity to transform yourself from powerless to powerful.

Lack of self care leaves us open to narcissists and other energy vampires.  Lack of self care dims our light.  When our light shines bright, the path is clear.  When it is dim, we can’t see clearly and stay in situations longer than we need to.  We also allow energy vampires to drain us, and we forget we know how to protect ourselves.  

Lack of self care means we react instead of respond.  We are defensive and embrace a lack mentality.  We think that life is conspiring against us instead of for us.  We perpetuate more of the same and it becomes a vicious cycle.

Self care is the antidote to this vicious cycle.  It is poison to narcissists.  It shines light on the dark.  Self care expands us instead of contracts us.  It is a natural remedy, a practical solution and a sustainable source of energy.

Get to know thyself.  Be curious about yourself.  Allow yourself to be defenseless, non judgemental and vulnerable as you explore the many layers of yourself.   Recognize your superpowers.  See when you practice self care how your superpowers can be used to your advantage.  Notice how when you are not practicing self care, they can be weaknesses or challenges in your life.  To practice self care, forgive yourself as easily as you forgive others.

Identify your emotional triggers, the positive as well as the negative ones.  Learn to recognize various emotions and the messages they are communicating to you.  Start to explore your beliefs.  Most of our programmed beliefs are false and or limiting.  They were programmed into our mind because of conformity, fear and survival.  We are at the point in our evolution where it is time to use our minds to live our best life.  

Self care means managing your mind.  Be in control of the thoughts you think instead of letting the thoughts control you.  Self care means choosing thoughts that support the best version of yourself.  Filter out self sabotaging thoughts that bring you down instead of raise you up.  

Be aware of your self-talk.  Talk to yourself as if you were talking to your best friend because you are your own best friend.  Start tuning into the language you use when you speak with yourself as well as the language you use when you speak about yourself.  We have the power to disempower ourselves with the words we choose.  Practice self care when you choose your thoughts – this looks like you choosing thoughts that are loving.

Speak about yourself to others in a loving way.  Treat yourself as you treat your loved ones.  Recognize your own needs before the needs of others.  It is like being on an airplane.  You have the help yourself with oxygen before you can help others.  That is why self care is so important.  The love you have for yourself matches the love you can give to others.  Self care is about loving yourself fully.  Until you love yourself fully it will be difficult to love others fully.

As you become aware of your emotions and your triggers, pay attention to when you respond versus react.  Notice the difference in energy.  Responding feels like self love.  Reacting feels like you are protecting yourself.  You are able to respond versus react when you love yourself.   Loving yourself will look like having boundaries about how you will be treated.  A response might be you speaking up for yourself.  A reaction might be you blaming the other person for making you feel a certain way.  Self care involves taking responsibility for your own emotions. This means doing the housekeeping for the underlying thoughts that drive the emotions.  Which one feels expansive versus limiting?  Self care is being able to recognize the difference.

Self care is being open to the perspectives of others.  Open mindedness is a self care practice because it allows you to be open to new ideas, ones that may be expansive.  The perspective of others also provides you the opportunity to understand how others think and perceive things.  This helps when communicating.  We practice self care when we are honest and open, as well as able to relate to others.  It reduces misunderstandings when we are open to the perspective of others.  

Being able to say and mean no is a large part of self care.  Create clear boundaries on your priorities.  If you know that you are easily triggered when you are tired, then adequate rest is a priority over people pleasing.  This is self care.  Take care of yourself so that when you show up you can be grounded, loving and present in any situation.

Listen to your body in general.  Know what it feels like to have low blood sugar, feel hungry or to have overeaten.  Tune into the physical needs of your body.  Are you eating your emotions are eating because you need fuel for the day?  Along those same lines are you over doing it on physical activity?  Listen to your body.  When it is tired, rest.   If you have a headache, reduce your stress.  If you are restless, go outside for a walk.  Understand what your body is communicating.  Popping pills at the first sign of a symptom is not self care.  Observing the patterns in your body is self care.  If you require an antacid every single night regardless of what you eat, you might have too much stress for your body to properly digest.  Listen to your body.  It is communicating to you at all times.  

Self care is about getting to know what your needs are and understanding how to meet them in a way that expands you.