• Michael Mclaren

Self Care Or Selfish?

I came across this very recently at one our Positive Self Image group workshops.

There was a hesitancy in the room that suggested real caution towards the idea of prioritising ourselves.

I completely understood, and still do. I've spent years thinking that I needed to put everyone else's needs before my own.

I've always had a tendency to become a bit of a people pleaser..

Looking back I'd say the only real mistake I made, was putting those needs not only before my own, but to the expense of my own.

I burnt out. If this is resonating even slightly with you then I really hope what I'm about to say can help you, like it helped me.

The one thing I would say has truly helped me with regards to self care over recent years, is reconsidering what it's definition was. For myself at least.

I used to think of things like having a lie in, having a day on the couch, ordering a takeaway instead of cooking. These were the types of things that I viewed as self care.

But, more recently, I've developed a view on it that, I believe, has really helped me to prioritise myself when needed, whilst at the same time continuing to work on helping others in any ways in which I can.

I always thought that self care had to be certain things. It had to be seen as a bit of an indulgence. Like it was some kind of treat.

The definition that truly helped me, was that self care can't be defined by the action alone.

Rather, I feel it's defined by the motivation behind it.

Those things I mentioned can absolutely be self care. But, rather than try to pigeon hole any specific action.

I found it extremely helpful to consider the motivation behind it.

Did it have my best interests at heart?

Was I using it as a form of avoidance or escapism?

Was it directly going to negatively affect someone else, or was it simply what, given the

circumstances at that moment, what I genuinely needed.

I get that there may be the concern that putting yourself first when you need it, could be considered selfish. That was my thinking too.

Rather than self care being defined by the action, consider it's defined by the motivation behind it.

But, have you ever considered that this maybe isn’t a “this or that”, “A or B” scenario.

It doesn’t have to be you vs everybody else.

I think having others best interests at heart is an amazing quality.

But, just how beneficial is it when those interests, come at the expense of your own?

Think of it this way perhaps..

By prioritising yourself and ensuring you are the healthiest and most vibrant version of yourself, you immediately position yourself to have even more of a positive impact on the interests of others.

Yeah, you may be placing yourself first now and again.

But, you’re making sure that those around you, those you care about, are sitting in a very, very close second.

And nobody is losing in that scenario.

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