“Self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.”– Parker Palmer
This is the final post in my series on relationships. As previously mentioned, the time has come to get this all out coherently, so bear with me. It will be broken down into three separate posts (1. Learning To Be More Open and 2. Accepting Fear) so that this isn’t too overbearing.
Caring for Others
Currently, in my life, the self comes second to caring for others. I know I need to change that, although I still feel the need to care for those around me as a higher need. I’ve been caring for a sick parent to varying degrees (depending on where in the UK I was at the time) since I was 16, making that almost 7 years now. I don’t regret taking on this responsibility (gosh no!), as I see it as my duty? Our parents do so much for us in ensuring that we are supported during the start of our lives (well at least most of them do), so it almost feels logical to help them when they need it.
The need to serve others also comes to mind when thinking about the self. I don’t just mean those close to me, as then I’d just be repeating myself. I mean feeling the need to help others in whatever way humanly possible- anything to simplify life after all. A Mormon teaching on the importance of serving comes to mind when discussing the need to serve others; having said that, being helpful has been in my nature long before religion came into my life.
What forms the self?
Two words immediately spring to mind if I use ‘self’ as my base point.
The first word is solo. Solitude and being ‘solo’ gives you time to look internally and discover. Discover who you truly are and learn to accept/love who that person is that you truly are. Of course, that can be clouded by self-doubt, but love wasn’t formed in a day!
The second word is selfish. I know what you’re thinking. ‘How can learning to accept and love yourself make you selfish?’ Fun fact: It doesn’t. What I’m in fact saying is the opposite- not taking the time to accept and love yourself is selfish. If you’re not willing to take the time to be at one with yourself and accepting of who you are, how on earth can you expect anyone else to?
Self Love is Essential.
Taking the time to accept each morsel of you and ensure that you are balanced is essential. I know that if I don’t take time out for myself to do the things that I love (such as writing on this blog!) then I will quickly slip back into a deep depression, making me useless to both myself and the people around me that I wish to care for.
Let me make this clear. Self-love doesn’t have to be materialistic! It could be as simple as writing in a journal or singing along to your favourite music; as long as it relaxes you, that’s all that matters. Dedicating time to build Lego kits is self-love for me because it’s a focused topic with eye-catching results, but what you do is your choice!
That’s all for now! To conclude I’d like to say this:
Be selfish. Say no if you have to. Your ‘self’ is more important than anything else, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.