Updated: Feb 12, 2020
Self-love and self-care is often talked about on social media. Its popular at the moment to encouraging people to treat themselves, have a bath, a face mask, indulge, buy something for themselves, follow your dreams, have it all and just do what makes you happy.
The majority of the time I don’t think these messages are helpful or truthful. I don’t think you can do what you want all the time. I think if everybody did exactly what they wanted in the moment all the time, not only would everyone probably have even more mental health issues and feel less fulfilled, but the world would be full of selfish people putting even more attention on themselves and less on helping each other, creating community and building fulfilling relationships.
I’m not saying stay in a shit job you hate, in a relationship that doesn’t bring you joy or not to strive for change and a better reality for yourself – but, if you think finding the perfect career or partner won’t still involve a lot of hard work, doing things you don’t really want to do and still include moments where you don’t feel that great then you are chasing an idea that doesn’t exist.
Popular sayings such as ‘find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life’ are setting people up for failure. Some people believe that passion is all they need. They might start a new business, the passion forces you to take action but after a while it feels like so much work, more work than what you think it should, based on the ideas and messages of those around you. So they quit, they quit before they have even started because they are not fully prepared with the understanding that it won’t be great all the time. The same goes for lifestyle changes, fat loss, creating new habits, starting university, moving somewhere new, studying etc the list is endless. However hard you think it will be, it will probably be harder. Don’t fight it, don’t resist it and think ‘poor me’ – get up and keep going. No one is going to do the work for you, you are the only person that can ultimately change your life situation.
You will have to work hard. You will have to make sacrifices. You will have to get up some days and do stuff you don’t want to do. I believe this is the truest act of self-love. Holding yourself accountable, taking responsibility for yourself and being disciplined. Doing something now (even when in the moment it’s not what you want to do) that your future self will thank you for. This is self-care.
Everything is so instant, we want the rewards of our efforts right now. But good things take time and you could be working on a project for months, maybe years, before you start seeing and enjoying the rewards of your efforts. You have to do your best to start enjoying the process because the process -what’s happening right now - is your life. That final destination is an illusion and if you are waiting until you get there before you start enjoying yourself it’s never going to come.
Be disciplined and put the work in. Feeling rubbish? Instead of posting a selfie and letting instant likes cheer you up for a few minutes before you go back to feeling crap again, try turning your phone off. Cut down on your social media time.
Tired after work and just want to sit on the sofa all night and numb your feelings with food or the TV – stop. Get your trainers on and go for a walk.
Turn your phone off before bed and read for 15 minutes instead.
Taking care of ourselves takes work. It takes effort. Ask yourself ‘Will my future self be pleased I used my time this way?’
If the answers ‘no’, then make a change. Practise true self-love and self-care.
You are the only person that can do it for yourself – and that is your power.