The Importance of Self Care
Updated: Apr 6, 2020
“Always secure your own oxygen mask before helping others.”
If you have ever watched those little airplane safety videos, you know exactly what I am referring to. This is a saying I love because it is a metaphor so applicable to daily human life, as it also completely sums up the point of this article. Apparently flight attendants are much wiser than we have presumed, because as long as the universe is real, you will never be able to help others until you have helped yourself. The first and most important way to help yourself is by practicing self care.
Self care is a concept frequently brought up in the yoga world, focussing on the prioritization of keeping ones own body and mind healthy. When you hear this term maybe your mind goes straight to that Mac Miller Song, or maybe your going "I’m on the self care train!” or maybe you understand, but do not have the energy to partake. Regardless, this concept is so crucial to fully understand because in fact, we will never be able to achieve our highest financial success, reach our highest potential in social groups, be in a healthy relationship, or even truly love anyone else until we have practiced it…because self care allows us to love ourselves. If we love ourselves, we have more energy and more confidence, which allows us to love others, which allows them to love us back, and our confidence and energy grows even more. This positivity begins to spiral up, and when you unseal all the layers you realize that with more love, more things are possible, because love is the the root of all light.
This is why I am always doing things for me. I start off the day by praying, going through a yoga routine, and meditating to show my mind and body, as well as the universe that I care. I will not be able to contribute and show up in the world that day unless I have found my own peace of mind. I then have the drive to focus on others because I have already taken care of my basic needs; I have “secured my oxygen mask.” I also like to end the day by focussing on me, because quite literally, at the end of the day all that matters is how you feel about yourself. All others perceptions of you do not matter, will never serve you, and by focussing your energy on what others think, you will only hold yourself down. The more enlightened you become, the more you realize this and actualize it into daily life. So yeah, fuck what they think. You have to learn to be selfish at times, and at the same time, avoid conceitedness.
There is a perplexing difference between being conceited, and loving yourself. Narcissism comes from deep rooted insecurity, stemming from a belief system that says“I am not enough.” Maybe this comes from lack of attention as a child, or being ostracized in high school. Whatever it may be, this insecurity can be so powerful that the ego tries to overcompensate; and so maybe someone of this nature becomes materialistic, draping themselves in designer apparel, overly worried with their appearance as they hold on to the unconscious desire for outward attention in order to fix the internal wound. Maybe this wound lies in the woman constantly objectifying herself. Perhaps she is willing to give herself away sexually because she does not know herself and therefore cannot establish boundaries. Perhaps she is lonely and seeks company to seal the cracks that lie deep in her heart. These people are you and they are me, all around, crying for help. We are all looking for love on the outside because we have resistance to feeling that love internally. This is why it is important not to label people or judge. To call a girl a whore is to look past what is going on within her; you do not know her past, or her current struggles. To call someone a narcissist is to disregard the fact that deep down, they do not love themselves at all. "Healthy selfishness” will allow you to love others and in fact, appear selfless in the end.
As hard as it is to believe, it is true that you cannot physically love someone else if you don’t love yourself. Brene brown, a renowned author and researcher did a study on this, and talks about it in her books, which stirred up a controversy. Many people take it to heart and think "well what about my family, or what about my partner? I love them but I do not think I really love myself.” The truth is, love is relative. We all love the way we know how, and this comes from the way we have been conditioned or taught our whole lives, starting from early childhood. If you haven’t been showed proper love you cannot love yourself or at least in a healthy way, and you can only give that same type of love to others because that is all you have known. This idea loops back to self care. If you haven’t focused energy on yourself, you will not be able to fully focus your energy on others, because your mind is primal, and is constantly looking for ways to meet your own needs. If you have not eaten properly, or slept well, you are most likely in a bad mood, or too tired, and you cannot think about what the person next to you is saying because you are consumed by the thought of your next meal. Your mind will always be striving to meet the most important instinctive needs first until you can move on to the next stage. This is a concept referred to in Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs. Once you practice self care you will begin to notice this difference in your attitude as it relates to your relationship with others.
Many people struggle to prioritize themselves in regards to self care because of these deep rooted faulty belief systems… perhaps stemming from past experiences or more severely, trauma and abuse. It is key to look within yourself as you avoid judgement, and simply question your beliefs of self worth as you evaluate your past relationships. When we hold these wounds, It can be hard to take our own power back, but the first step is to change the belief system, and come out of the mode of victimization. So many of us are unconsciously victimizing ourselves, but it is possible to come to the awareness that the past is not relevant and in fact, we are not victims. We can overcome the past because it does not define us. It is important to process and acknowledge the hurt, and then be able to let it move on. If we do not first acknowledge it, the energy will sit in our bodies. The human brain is always being conditioned and wired, but it is possible to reprogram it once we recognize where we are stuck. In order to do this, perhaps use some positive self talk. When you notice that voice that brings you down, shut it back down by noticing the root of that voice. Take your power back, and recorrect the root belief. Maybe you say to yourself “I am enough” “I am worthy of love” “I love myself, and myself is all I need.” Even if it’s hard to accept, say it anyways. Say it enough until its true. It may not appear that simple, but once you realize your belief systems, you can continue to focus more energy on healing them to the best of your abilities. It can also be very healthy to write a list of all the reasons to love yourself, and read it every day whenever possible. It is this type of consciousness that will then manifest into your reality. Avoid reinforcing statements that say feed the ego such as “I am attractive” or “I am popular.” Use mantras such as “I am confident,” "I am independent” “I can do whatever I set my mind to.”
You will begin to love yourself by starting off with the little things. Tell yourself you deserve to relax, take a bath every night to start off. Maybe you start going to bed early, or try to wake up at sunrise where the energy is most quite, beautiful and powerful. This is a great time for inner reflection. Perhaps you do a guided meditation online every night before bed. These are all great steps, and perfect examples of types of self care that calms the mind and generates energy towards knowing thyself (when you know the true self, you can properly hold boundaries, take your power back, and engage in healthy relationships.) You can then start taking care of your body, such as eating healthy…maybe starting a meal plan, if you notice your diet does not align with your body. Start to listen to what your body needs. You can join a yoga studio or get a gym membership. It is important to get at least 45 minutes of physical exercise a day, it will release endorphins that make you feel better physically and have a better mental attitude about life and yourself. Feelings of strength on the outside manifest into your own inner reality. Life on the outside is always a reflection of how you feel on the inside. The more you do for yourself, the more this energy will progress upward. It is a universal law. Soon you will create more and more healthy habits, while learning to love yourself more each day. You then will be able to take on the rest of the world whole heartedly and with more energy.
When we love ourselves it spreads outward, love generates and grows such as every other emotion, and because love is of the highest frequency in the emotional spectrum, it has the power to conquer hate, and the world could be at peace. Obviously it isn’t that simple, like if everyone took a bath every night war would go away…but self care is a seed that if planted properly will grow roots and stems and then leaves, so to say, more positivity will arise.