Self indulgent or Self Love? Self Care up close and Personal.
Self indulgent or self love? What differentiates the two, where is the line drawn? In the age of selfies, and sharing everything from our lifestyle choices, aspirations and daily woes on social media, sometimes it can be hard to distinguish how much is just enough? It’s therapeutic to share, to air, but then all of a sudden it’s not.
We all inwardly worry about how we are being perceived on social media and within our daily lives, at work, within our friendship circles and our very own families.
Not too needy, not too aggressive, not too ambitious, trying to balance it all like Goldilocks to be ‘just right’.
Yet we are told over and over again essentially to Love Yourself. From one positive mantra to the next, it’s the underlying tone. Self Love. I don’t recall any saying, Go Easy on the self love, reign it in a bit. No, we’re encouraged, Love Thyself. Do You. So why is it such an issue when either we do or we see someone else who very much does.
Is it something in our upbringing that we’re supposed to be so humble so modest in all things that you can’t possibly show yourself too much love overtly. That we should feel guilt ridden for every guilty pleasure, in fact that the pleasure should even be a guilty pleasure, from eating chalet to watching your favourite soap to seriously over priced bubble bath that no one else is allowed to use, what’s to be guilty about?
This is where the millennials differ from us, they like what they like and own it, shout about it, indulge in it, loudly and proudly.
We talk about mental health, we encourage each other, “it’s ok not to be ok” this is true. but here’s one. “It’s ok to be ok” “It’s ok to be doing really f******** great” we don’t have to go all ego centric crazy, but our constant urge to play it down, dumb ourselves down extend to how well we treat ourselves or feel it is permissible to be seen to do so.
A Manicure, A pedicure, a trip to the hair salon, many women feel is an indulgence, but for many it’s just daily life and a necessity. Taking time out, switching off the phone, not being so available, to everyone, work, emails through the night when you’ve been in the office all day, even the schools now with Parental seem to think if they send you n email at 7.30pm you’ll have baked a cake, packed extra kit and actioned anything else in time for the next morning.
How about we just reclaim our time in the evenings. It infuriates people when they say,”I sent you an email” I ask when, they say, half an hour ago and I shrug and say “well then I wouldn’t have read it would I?” in fact people get to know send me something at least 24 hours before you want me to move on it. If you want to be sure. I mean work, ok, I can live with fast paced stuff throughout the day, but what we have now is schools sending emails, family members sending emails throughout the day and just everybody thinking you are accessible, available and on it..constantly.
Well I’m not. By choice, I say no. I will not have emails come through on my phone to everyone’s horror, that would means I’d never get to shut the laptop and thats it for a day or at least a moment, when I close the lid I mentally shut it down. I watch my husband as they ping though morning noon and night weekends, holidays, meals, and I just refuse because that is my gift to myself. I watch the commuters search for something to look at, people in doctors surgeries, hospitals, trains, anything not to have to make conversation or eye contact…it’s a weakness and we’re doing it to ourselves.
Perhaps it’s having had MS for so many years and changing my lifestyle from three phones, being on call through the evenings and weekends to just unplugging the phone and switching mobiles off, going for a walk and a massage. It changed my life and I believe saved my health from further deterioration. it certainly saved my sanity.
Walking, massage, travel, eating good food, by good I don’t mean just super healthy but good quality and great tasting foods are what I enjoy and are all things which feed my soul not just my mouth.
I appreciate massage at least once every 6-8 weeks isn’t indulgent but very necessary and improves me, improves how I feel, how I relate and I’m not spoilt I’m smart to give myself that gift. When feeling low just getting in the car and heading to any coastline for a day, even to sit in a coffee shop by the sea and look out and feel better, I feel better. Sometimes with company, sometimes alone, whatever I need in that moment.
I speak my mind, I voice my opinions and hold far less in that I used to, all this is a gift to myself. I love myself. I own it. For this reason I allow myself to have opinions, and express them. Realising all the times we don’t speak up or speak out or do what ever it takes to make the other party in the room feel better at our expense, that’s not humility, that’s not being modest or keeping the peace, it’s sabotaging our own health and well being. It’s not being a team player, it’s not doing what it takes to resolve a situation, it’s as much about social awkwardness as using our phones as props to avoid eye contact or conversation. We’re being dishonest, with ourselves, and with those with whom we engage, and we lie to ourselves it’s just easier, or will make things be resolved quicker, or get the job in hand done smoother.
I’m not sue if we actually stepped out of the bubble and could look down on our interactions or lack of them if we’d actually see all the dishonesty with ourselves and therefor other people, all the holding back, all the keeping it in, keeping it quite, if we’d actually see that as progressive, speed that up mentally in years, all the held breathes, silenced thoughts and opinions. Do we really believe we achieve more, get further, get more done? Do we really believe things are done better because of this approach? Do we really not see the effect on our respective health and well being?
Let it out. Speak, think, fell, and breath.
Stop comparing your achievements to other peoples, that’s sabotage and will make you feel worse, there are people who’ve down worse and people who’ve done better, accept that, move on. Be your own benchmark, not critically, with praise and acknowledgement and determination. Achieving goals is also good for your well being, but not by beating yourself up to get there. Try to find ways to make your goals, exactly that, your own goals, on your own terms, at your own pace.It’s not selfish, it’s sensible, you can still be a parent a partner an amazing employee or boss in fact, you’ll be a better one.
Sometimes we make niches for ourselves, within our families, friendships, and constantly giving, constantly being available is the ***** most draining position to occupy. Ok, people might say you were a lovely person at your wake, and then they move on, are years of not living and constantly giving with that? I’m not saying be mean, be kind, be caring yes, be a door mat, no. Be true to yourself, sometimes we give and sometimes we just say I’m sorry not today.
Practicing to openly be good to myself has actually made me a better person, a stronger person. In situations where I would have felt something should have been done but stayed silent, I now challenge. Practising self love brings confidence, at first you may worry it’s perceived as arrogance, but it’s just a line you have to cross and get over, pleasing everyone else. You will never feel worse for speaking up or standing up for yourself, only for not doing so. You will never feel worse for being good to yourself, for one hour, for one afternoon for one week, for the rest of your life. Because we’re all here to be our very best self.
A walk around the park at lunchtime, an hour of not taking calls and reading a book instead, watching your favourite trashy program, the massage, that manicure, the awesome shoes, you’ll never really regret any of them, but not looking after you will weigh on you dearly. Do what makes you happy. Not the textbook, acceptable answer, the real you answer, think about it, do it.
You can’t because….. ok, there’s your excuse why not to do it, now swipe that away like the wrong answer on a screen and go do it. It’s all as complicated as we make it. We make it complicated and difficult almost through fear of just going for it and being happy. We put barriers in our own way, and these help to increase our anxieties, fear, depression and kill our well being.
It’s ok to not be ok, but it’s ok to be doing great. Go on, try it, do at least three things just for you, through each day for a week and see how you feel by the end of it, it will change you forever. Learn from the millennials, if ever they hear you say you can’t do something they ask “why not” as you answer and see their expression, you realise how silly we often are and feeble our excuses not to live.
Go on, try it, first stop, shopping? (any excuse).