You probably see a lot of female thought-leaders on their blogs and Facebook posts proclaiming that good self-care is non-negotiable.
Actually, I agree with them.
However, there’s a big disconnect between those of us writing about self-care and the reality of the daily lives of the readers.
So many people – women, especially – who read these articles are suffering from not taking time to care for themselves.
How about you? See if this sounds familiar: grabbing a moment to read an article about why self-care is important actually is your self-care for the week. You always have too much to do. At the end of the day you collapse into bed, knowing that it starts all over again in just a few short hours.
Self-care? Yeah, right.
You’re too busy. You have a job or career, a partner, kids or parents who need your attention and care, a household to run, community events to participate in, bills to pay.
The list goes on – just like your endless to-do list. Beyond getting in a hot shower and maybe a workout, when do you really have time for the exquisite pastel self-care that you see in the Instagram posts?
Aside from the time constraints, we often have a mindset that doesn’t allow for taking pleasure in self-care. We’ve been taught by our culture that our main purpose in life is to serve others.
It’s just what we do.
We take care of people, we are in charge of our homes and keeping them running smoothly, we seek to please those around us.
Our need to be seen as capable at tending to our lives is strong. We always want to look like we have our shit together, even when we don’t.
When we take time for ourselves, we feel guilty. We worry that we’re not being true to our kids or our partner or our boss. It makes us feel icky and selfish and worried that people are watching us and thinking that very thing.
We feel so unworthy of this gift of time and attention.
This is a terrible way to live. Perhaps it’s a first-world problem.
If we have food to eat and a roof over our heads, we should be grateful, right?
And yet there is that yearning for more – can you feel it?
You long for a grander purpose, feeling that deep connection to the wellspring of love and creativity that you sense at the center of things.
Of course you have moments of deep meaning, sprinkled throughout a lifetime. A declaration of love, the birth of a child, that vacation at the seaside, looking up at the starry sky.
These moments seem rare and precious. Yet your heart calls you back toward fuller presence, over and over. Your heart wants more – and if you don’t listen, things tend to fall apart.
Self-care means listening to that quiet voice that wants to you to just stop.
Stop moving, just for a moment. Let go of thinking about what’s next on your list. Stop worrying about proving your worth, checking all the boxes, being the perfect parent or employee or partner or entrepreneur.
Cease and desist, and just listen within. What do you really need, on a profound level? Listen to your intuition, and then follow its yearnings.
This is self-care.
Caring for yourself is not a selfish act. You, too, need to be cared for – and not by some Prince Charming or Fairy Godmother.
By you. For you. And for everyone whose life you touch.
Self-care gets you in touch with the Divine source at your very center. It’s not selfish, because the Divine is part of all of us. This deep wisdom is what powers the entire cosmos. Vast cosmic love is where we came from.
Tuning in to these feelings of love and belonging is what self-care is all about.
Now make it a practice. Set aside regular time – yes, time, your most precious resource – to listen to and follow your innermost desires.
If you don’t, things will sooner or later spin out of control.
This is because your conscious ego self was never in control to begin with. Working with your inner wisdom makes life less of a struggle and more of a flow.
That’s why those of use who have already created time for regular self-care are crowing about it from the rafters.
Not to make you feel bad for what you don’t yet have, but to coax you to tune in deep and feel better, and to enable you to tend to your deepest desires.
To encourage you to use your passions in service to yourself, your loved ones, your community, and the entire Universe.
The world needs you, in your fullest presence and deepest connection. We need you, dear one, to release your resistance and guilt and find time to just be. To listen and act on what you hear and recharge your sacred energies.
Not just once, but on a regular basis. Please, heed the call.
This post is an excerpt from the forthcoming book Follow the Ebb & Flow: The Law of Attraction and the Tides of Life by Nikki Starcat Shields and Brent BlackLion Nelson