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:: why you don’t have a self-care problem (even if you’re not a mani fan) ::

yeah… self-care is so hot right now. and rightfully so.

with the year we’ve all had, there’s actually truth to the ole “no better time than right now” invitation to up your self-care game, stat. 

one of the workshops i love to lead stresses the importance of defining self-care for yourSELF.

too often i see folks struggle to force other peoples’ ideas of self-care into their own self-care plans, like so many little kiddos trying to shove the blue plastic square into the triangle-shaped hole, over and over and over again.

(i’m looking at you, mani-pedi.)

and when someone else’s blue-square self-care doesn’t leave them feeling fab, they either berate themselves for doing it wrong or conclude there must be something wrong with them as individuals or with self-care as a whole.

self-care quickly becomes a hard-headed problem to solve, evidence that you’re no good at solving it, or a fine solution that’s inaccessible to you.

none of which feels very good. (and none of which is true.)

by the way… let the record show that personally, i adore a mani-pedi lol.

what i do NOT adore is the crap messaging that pushes a mani-pedi as the holy go-to grail of self-care.

it creates a whole population of people who leave the salon even more stressed out than they were when they booked the appointment — because now they’ve got all these new figurative fires to put out that of course ignited in that small span of time in which they dared to be so bold as to “take time for themselves.”

the message becomes clear that taking time for yourself is bad. and when that time isn’t even spent doing something that truly nourishes you on some level, it’s easy to believe that there’s no point in even trying, that self-care just isn’t for you, that maybe it’s a hoax altogether.

any of this ring true for you?

even though it might seem like you have a problem with self-care, chances are high that you don’t.

you may, however, have a self-trust problem.

the having of it and the practice of it.

let me explain…

do you ever treat yourself — to a glass of wine (or five), an ice cream cone (or a pint), a new pair of shoes (or a whole new outfit)?

do you tell yourself that you deserve it, that you earned it, that you need a little help to unwind after a long meeting, day or week?

well… congratulations! you don’t have a self-care problem. you actually BELIEVE in self-care.

you clearly value self-care and, to a greater or lesser degree, you prioritize it.

you’re just doing the wrong things. and by wrong, i mean you’re not doing things that legitimately nourish, nurture, sustain or heal you.

you’re trying though. you’ve just got some misguided ideas on what self-care is, and what serves as self-care for YOU.

and you know what? you. are. not. alone.

it’s common to outsource the business of deciding what’s best for us to someone else — in so many of the ways and things.

in the realm of self-care, “what’s best” often looks like a variation on spa days and vacays.

if you don’t enjoy or can’t afford that type of self-care right now, then you may mistakenly believe that self-care isn’t for you — that it’s either something you don’t dig or something you can’t access, something that’s just not meant for you.

“what’s best” in self-care also often looks like indulging in the things consumer culture (by way of pop culture) perpetuates as what we DESERVE — that sweet, drink, or fancy new thing.

this messaging does nothing to help those among us predisposed to addictive behaviors, by the way. talk about blurred lines and being set up to fail… 

to be clear: i’m not offering up overdrinking, overeating, overspending, etc. as examples of ideal acts of self-care.

nor am i trying to oversimplify the complexity of the health, addiction, and well-being continuum. 

(i invite you to reflect on where you land on that continuum, and to seek help if you think you might need it.)

what i AM doing is asking you to consider where and how you already TRY to incorporate self-care into your days.

so that you can make intuition-driven adjustments to things you ALREADY DO rather than build your practice up from nothing.

so that you can see the gap between where you are and where you want to be regarding nourishing, nurturing experiences of self-care — and recognize it as less wide than you think.

then you can intentionally bridge that gap by tapping into the power of self-trust.

because when you dare to be so bold as to listen to what YOU actually WANT — not what others want for you, what they claim to be right for you, or what you think you SHOULD do… you start to realize that those “treats” you’ve been turning to may not be treating you very well at all.

you’re able to see where the blue square block simply does not fit the contours of the triangle-shaped space. and to identify the yellow plastic triangle shape in the pile that fits with ease (or with a small tweak or two like wiggling it or turning it on its side.)

I’m not saying this is a quick fix, because it’s not. it’s a layered process of transformation that will change big and little elements of your life over time.

as you develop a deeper sense of self-trust and continue to see how that yields greater joy, peace, satisfaction and ease in all aspects of your life, including your self-care practices… it’ll become a lifestyle. 

you’ll build up a core strength from which struggles become easier to face, obstacles easier to navigate. clarity around what’s truly in your best interest will become so much easier to attain.

and who couldn’t use some of THAT?

i’d love to hear what landed for you here, what your own self-care practices look like for you, and how you’d like them to grow.

xxoo, cc

(meme image features Will Ferrell as Mugatu and Milla Jovovich as Katinka in the 2001 film, Zoolander.)