Anyone that knows me is well aware of my passion in advocating for self-care. I have had to navigate through my own personal struggles with burn-out and compassion fatigue. It wasn’t until I overcame my guilt to engage in self-care that I was able to reap the benefits of the practice. We live in a noxious “grind culture” that aligns people’s worth to how, if, or what they produce. Grind culture relies on quantifiable information as proof of productivity. The act of self-care is in direct opposition to this toxic ideology as it encourages us to give ourselves permission to simply “be”. Self-care is qualifiable and open to exploration. We measure self-care by the quality and benefits the practice of it brings to our lives. Self-care is a basic right and a necessary condition for healthy wellbeing.
We cannot, however, have a discussion about self-care without first addressing the idea of self-love. Self-love is a prerequisite for self-care. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines self-love as “an appreciation of one's own worth or virtue.” Self-love is a state of self-appreciation. We acknowledge all of who we are and love ourselves in spite of our perceived imperfections. That includes the quality of our self-talk, our feelings and views about ourselves as well as our behaviors towards ourselves. Self-love is the unconditional and all-inclusive acceptance of who we are, the good, the bad, and the indifferent.
That acceptance allows us to truthfully acknowledge and address those parts of ourselves that are not healthy. Those parts of ourselves that may cause harm to ourselves and/or others. Self-love opens the door to non-judgmental, self-exploration and personal development as you realize areas for improvement and work to fulfill them. In addition, self-love motivates you to make healthy choices about your life that support your spiritual, emotional, and physical wellbeing. When you hold yourself in healthy esteem, you're more likely to choose things, activities, and people that nurture your well-being.
Self-love is manifested through kindness, patience, gentleness, and compassion towards yourself. It allows us to set and enforce healthy boundaries. Put your most meaningful human relationship front and center and love yourself just as you are.
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