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Sometimes I have a hard time taking care of myself. Is it okay to ask yourself “what do I need?” “Am I worth taking care of?”

At first, I looked at self-care as selfish. I grew up in a church where some people taught favouring long-term goals over short term pleasures.  I interpreted that idea as taking care of others at the expense of my own mental health. Loving others before myself may, on the surface, be a righteous goal, but in reality, if something I’m doing for others is more hurtful to me than helpful to others then it’s not really coming from a good place. It’s not coming from a place of self-care. It’s really coming from a mindset of pleasing others with low regard for what I need.

It’s something I can relate to. I’ve been there.

A quote from the book Night Light by Amy E. Deans says:

“If we think of those who take care of themselves as selfish – we need to look at our definition of selfish. If someone wants to stay up late and talk and the other doesn’t – who is selfish? The person who is tired and wants to sleep or the one who insists they stay up?”

Stating a limitation is not selfish – we are just taking care of our needs and being honest.

Selfishness is when we insist on having our way at the expense of another’s needs. And at the expense of our own needs as well.

I’ve had friends whom I would give and give and give to. And maybe they really benefited from it but I hurt as a result. In that type of relationship, stating a limitation is really being kind to yourself, because it allows you to be a person better able to give.

What do you need today? Just sit there for a minute and ask yourself “what do I need?’Keep in mind that the best way to love someone in the future is by caring for yourself right now.

I want you to imagine a tree. Imagine you have a saw and you keep hacking at it – the blade getting duller and blunter, but you just keep going and going. When in reality it would be far more effective to take a break, and resharpen the saw. This sounds like a violent analogy. But what do you need to do to sharpen yourself mentally? Physically, emotionally, spiritually?

You matter! Take your self-care seriously and in so doing take seriously the kind of person that you are giving to others. Because at the end of the day self-care is also about caring for others.

Find a reflection of yourself in the mirror and as you watch yourself, rewire your brain by telling yourself this:

“Today I can give care to myself. And in doing so, care about the self I give.”