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ADDRESSING THE GUILT IN SELF-CARE
With “self-care” being talked about so much recently, I thought that it would be a relevant topic of discussion. Self-care is extremely personal and can mean a lot of things for each individual. It can mean staying in and watching a movie or it can mean meditating for a half-hour everyday. But, it can also mean making hard decisions like cutting people out of your life or quitting your job. This more difficult aspect of self-care often comes with a lot of guilt and shame due to the fact that we typically don’t want to hurt anyone or burn bridges and feel selfish doing so.
As nice as it is to take a hot bubble bath at the end of a long week, that’s certainly not always going to be enough for you to take care of yourself and find inner peace. A lot of times, there are people in your life who may be negative influences that you need to take a step away from. Maybe you hate your job and no amount of right eating or doing face masks is going to solve that. Maybe the person who causes you the most stress and anxiety is your own mother or a close member of your family. Personally, there have been people in my family who have caused me a lot of distress and pain who I’ve had to distance myself from and it wasn’t an easy decision.
The guilt of potentially hurting someone else while making the best decision for yourself is a heavy burden to bear and often one that you carry with you for a long time. In fact, people can carry guilt about self-care in general and will deprive themselves of the care they need in order to avoid looking “selfish.” Being selfish is often something that we try to stay away from, but is it selfish to take care of yourself? Is it selfish to listen to your mind, body, and spirit and make changes in your life according to what you need to thrive? Is it selfish to cut someone out who constantly puts you through emotional turmoil? I’m going to have to say no to all of these.
There is no reason to feel guilt when having to take care of yourself. If you don’t put yourself first, nobody else is going to. If you have to remove someone from your life for your own safety or well-being, that is a beautiful gift to give to yourself and nothing to be ashamed about. Not everyone is meant to be in our lives and if we continue to enable them to use destructive behavior against us, they’ll never grow or be forced to reflect on their actions. In fact, choosing to ignore a problem in your life because it’s the easy thing to do is selfish, not the other way around.
We need to rid ourselves of the idea that self-care is selfish in any way at all and fully embrace a life full of making the best decisions for ourselves. You don’t feel guilty when you have to see a doctor when you’re sick, so you shouldn’t feel guilty making other decisions in your life that have to do with your well-being. That’s not to say that you won’t feel bad or sad when making some of these difficult choices, but we can’t allow those feelings to influence whether or not we go through with something that will end up being the best choice for us. As most of us know, the best choice isn’t always the easy one.
This post has essentially just been a long-winded way of me saying to take care of yourself and not feel guilty for making those hard decisions about what’s best for you. Life is too short not to live it to the fullest and to do what needs to be done to make sure that can happen. Live your life with a fierce unapologetic spirit because you’re too good not to.
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