“Treat yourself” – a term my sister and I text to each other often.
For anyone unfamiliar with the phrase- It’s essentially giving yourself permission to splurge or indulge in whatever way brings you joy. For Zara (age 3) this looks like eating a 1lb bag of gummy bears for dinner because TREAT YOURSELF. Did she throw up? Yes. Would she do it again? 100%
By embracing this philosophy, you’re really saying “I value myself enough to recognize that I am deserving of pampering and indulgence for the simple sake of my own pleasure.” And this is good!
The problem is, the self care message gets clouded by two main contributors. 1: the weighted importance society places on material things; and 2: the fact that we are so used to personal sacrifice- we see normal things as indulgent. For instance; alone time, a long hot bath, massage, weekly meetup with friends, signing up for a painting class, etc.
Mass media and consumerism entwine together to promote the successful economic ideology: MAKE THAT MONEY. SPEND THAT MONEY. REPEAT.
In a society that’s increasingly technological, Advertising come at us from all sides. “You use this, you need this, buy it here in 7 different colors.” Instagram endorsements “I use this, I love it, I’m successful. I have all these things. Look at me, I’m happy, and you can be too.” My favorite is the emotional pathos, “look at this family enjoying time together on their new____ with their new ____. You should buy _____ because you love your family.” Publix is really good at this method- I literally cry during every one of their holiday commercials.
To say “money can’t buy you happiness” I realize, is trite. But, there are other, more constructive ways to care for yourself. I want to talk about one of my favorites:
That’s right baby. Get that proverbial mirror and stare deep down in there. Ask yourself questions. The good questions; the deep questions. “What do I really value?” “What pain am I still holding onto?” “What could I benefit from letting go of? – What could I benefit from gaining?” Get a journal, if you want. I send myself texts or tag myself on FB when I see something I want to explore deeper. It doesn’t have to be full on Eat Pray Love- like, you don’t need a trip to Bali to figure out you’re mad at your parents. It would be cool though. Way easier to feel zen on vacay.
Self reflection is simply a process to grow your own understanding of who you are. So naturally, how you do it is up to you. The more we know about ourselves the more peace we can ultimately find- Leading to self acceptance, self love, and all that good stuff.
In my mid 20’s, I hit an emotional roadblock after a major relationship fail. I took about a year off from relationships, and I spent that time cultivating some self knowledge. I looked at my patterns, my priorities, and my baggage. It really hurt. It can hurt to break yourself open, but you end up with this beautiful “wabi-sabi” existence. (A Japanese philosophy of accepting transience and imperfection) Again, self reflection will lead to self love, but that’s for another week.
I know with every part of my being, that if I hadn’t taken that time, and that journey, I would have missed out on my life as I’ve come to know it. I might not have moved to Atlanta. I might not have met Amer, I might not have been ready to accept and give love selflessly. I might not have thought myself ready to be a parent. It’s a reality that now I cannot even imagine!! Do I have it all figured out? Absolutely not. But I know what is true in my heart.
A wise Queen once said, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?”
Self reflection is just one of many tools to add to the self care belt. But I think it’s a great one, and a good place to start. There is no secret to the process. If you want to do it, you can.
For parents, the need for self reflection is compounded. We can ask ourselves questions like, “is this the best thing for my kids, or for me? Is this something they actually need, or something I wish I had? Am I looking at them with the right lens?” Etc
Regardless of who you are or what your life consists of, self care is essential. Give yourself a hug, tell yourself you are beautiful and deserving of all the love and happiness the universe can provide. It’s the truth!
Other topics/methods of Self Care Saturday might include things like: Therapy, self love/acceptance, meditation, practicing gratitude, scheduling social media breaks, walks outside, social distancing without social isolating, finding new hobbies, howling at the moon, sparking joy, and much more!