Why is Embracing Self-care Such a Big Deal?
Many of you know I recently crossed a milestone birthday—I entered the decade of 60. Somehow in my world view it is an accomplishment not a setback or something to hide. Actually I am grateful. Grateful to be alive considering all the ridiculous things I did in my mis-spent youth. Grateful to have family & friends that have enriched my life so much. And grateful most of all for the ongoing relationships that enhance my moments whether I am with someone or thinking of someone.
I just practiced two minutes of self-care. Your reading those words may have taken less time, but I’m betting those words caused you to smile either because you know you’re one of my people or my words have caused you to remember someone or something that you’re grateful for too.
We hear a lot about self-care these days and my challenge to myself this month is meant to be for all of us in some way. I know the areas I need to grow in because I have done a lot of work learning who I am and how God has wired me. What I don’t always acknowledge is what I already know and practice. That’s because those things are unconscious now. I don’t have to think about them. I just do them. I guess you can call them habits.
There is a great book titled The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg.
In it he breaks it all down. I know not all of you like to read non-fiction. I get that. So I’ll give you the cliff notes version: it’s harder to break a habit than it is to start a habit.
If you focus only on what you don’t like or want to do, that is all you see or think about. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I stop doing X? Or why can’t I think differently about X? Those thoughts become the focus and if you’re like most people, your next thought is one of internal shame: “I’m such a ___________” “I’ll never ______________” or “I’ll always be ______________”.
Does this sound at familiar?The reason embracing self-care is such a big deal is true care for your self fills you up to be fully present to others. Click To Tweet
When you have some undercurrent of dissatisfaction about your life it leaks out in your interactions with others. You think you’re hiding that you’re tired or you’re irritation at being asked again to do something for your kids school (isn’t there anybody else who can do this?) or fill in the blank with what just popped in your head. You can’t hide the dissatisfaction. It leaks out. Others feel it or dissatisfaction comes out as snapping at your husband, children, friends, co-workers, grocery clerks or road rage.
Unmet needs and unmet expectations are toxic to your soul. Hope deferred makes the heart sick. That’s truth.
What’s the cure? Becoming a driven perfectionist? Nope. How do I know? I’ve tried it. And failed miserably countless times.
The cure is found in process. And embracing self-care is the main part of the process.
Because it’s a process, we need to take ourselves back to being childlike. Not childish. Childlike.
Wonder at how things work. Curiosity about who you truly are; not the one who performs for others’ expectations or for a paycheck, but who you ARE. Being childlike includes being eager to try new things, even if it doesn’t work the first time; try it again.
The childlike trust in the idea that things will be okay because there is Someone Bigger Who is taking care of your real needs. I think this is what Jesus is talking about when He said we must be like a child to enter the Kingdom (Matthew 18:3)
So for the rest of the month of November I’m challenging myself to enter this childlike space to try new things. I’m sharing and asking you to join me because 1) I love company and 2) I know I’m not alone. 3) We all have things that we’re good at but NO ONE is good at ALL THE THINGS. Except Jesus.
And Yes Jesus is Better in my life than all the rest. I won’t get too Jesus-y on you but I will say this Truth: we all have been wired with eternity in our hearts and bear the imago Dei whether we acknowledge Him as such or not. That is the basis of the human need for spirituality. You’re hardwired that way. How you seek to fulfill that need may remain to be seen. I’ll share what I’ve learned along the Way because that’s part of how He’s wired me. It’s true that caring for your soul is a huge part of embracing self-care.
Here is my very general outline for the days ahead. I want to learn at least as much from you as I share, so please share your tips, strengths, knowledge and struggles. Cuz that’s what I’m going to do. Along the Way we can encourage each other as we practice embracing self-care.