Why Self-Care is a Radical Act (and Why "Selfish" is a Good Thing)

First of all, let's define what we're talking about. What do I mean when I say "self-care?"

To me, self-care is any action (or non-action) that is loving towards yourself. While we often think of self-care as a hot bath or a massage (yummm!), it goes much deeper and broader than that.

Self-care includes each of the Four Worlds that we humans inhabit (a concept in Kabbalah): the Physical, Intellectual, Emotional, and Spiritual.

Although at first glance it seems like a good idea to most of us, when the rubber hits the road it's often really hard to carve out time for self-care. Why?

As women, we are taught that our worth comes from taking care of others.

In a world where women are expected to take care of everyone else (bosses, colleagues, children, friends, parents, partners or ex-partners), making the time to care for ourselves is a radical act.

We have demanding lives, a daily onslaught of information (and mis-information) from the media, and we live in a fast-paced, results focused culture. It’s not easy to carve out time for things that have no immediate, measurable results. In fact, prioritizing ourselves, when every message and demand in our lives says to do the opposite, is an act of resistance.

Self-care gives the message to ourselves and to others that we are important. That our body, heart, mind and spirit are worthy of attention and care. Most often, choosing self-care requires that we say no to something else, often for somebody else. If you feel you're being selfish, you're probably on the right track.

Loving ourselves through our speech and actions is something we have to search out models and support for, because it’s not what we usually learn.

How's your self-care going?
Do you have enough support?
What one action from the arenas below would have the most impact on your life?

Here's a check-in using the Four Worlds model from Kabbalah:
Don't let the inner critic get all in your face about how you're not doing enough self-care.
We just talked about how hard it is, right?
So, begin the self-care with this check-in and use it to inspire you, not to beat yourself up.

Intellectual (the Mind):
Intellectual (the Mind):
- How is your intellectual self-care? (learning, grappling, exposure to new ideas: books, art, courses, conversations)
- What turns on your mind? How can you bring more of this into your life?
- Do you want go to the next level (or engage more deeply) in your career or in your hobbies/passions through further training, course work or reading?

Emotional (the Heart):
- How do you care for yourself emotionally?
- Is there enough joy and laughter in your life? How do you care for yourself when you are in pain?
- Where do you get support when things are challenging? Where do you get support for your successes?
- Do you have at least one person that you can speak the whole, complete truth of your life to?
- How is your self-talk? Your relationship to your inner child?
- Are you being kind and compassionate with yourself?

Spiritual (the Soul):
- How do you care for yourself spiritually?
- What helps you get in touch with meaning and purpose in your life?
- How do you connect with something greater than yourself?
- How do you contribute to the world around you and the things you care about? Where are you/do you want to be of service?
- How do you connect with your deepest self and/or your higher power?
- Are there rituals , traditions and/or community that you find meaningful or that you would like to explore?
- What values mean the most to you and how can you create opportunities to live into them?

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