I’m inclined to believe that a “happy mask” need not always come with positive psychology attached to it. It reminds me of a friend’s friend who once had coolly declared how they choose to show a brave face even if they know they are falling apart inside.
Related: The Power Of Self-Talk
4. It is not: Putting others before yourself.
A very animal side in us teaches us when we are young, that we have to do all we can to survive.
This subtext of course is unconscious and includes the information, and rightly so, that we have to maintain relationships in order to be safe and content. Millions of years of conditioning and wisdom ensure that we heed our social and emotional connections the way we do.
Problems occur when we are not able to tell where to draw the line and put our own needs before others’ needs and opinions.
While it is true that there will be circumstances where putting others first will seem natural and necessary, self care is knowing when to say no, when to listen to your instincts and when to peel yourself away from toxicity.
5. It is not: Splurging on the best of material things.
Retail therapy is a known concept by now, around the world. However, in the strictest sense of the term, it might not really fit into the category of self care.
For one, splurging does not address any real issues or challenges that you may be facing in life. And while not denying that a one-off spree can lift your spirits, splurging on material happiness often comes with a host of other problems.
Unhindered ambition around wealth and hoarding in the long run can actually go in the opposite direction from self care, causing stress and bad health.
5 Things That Are Self-Care
1. It is: Respecting your own boundaries.
If you’ve gone even a bit into the nuances of boundaries, you’ll know how important they are – to know when your feelings need more acknowledgment, to know when to withdraw from a situation, to accept that you can’t achieve all your goals at the same time, all of it where you bring yourself to pause and really assess what will work for you, all of it is self care.
It could be about changing a toxic workplace for another that values you, declining social interactions when you’re tired or even opting not to enter a romantic relationship until you’re ready.
Related: Discover Your True Authentic Self
2. It is: Acknowledging your feelings, whatever they are.
In a way, this is really the anti-thesis of pop psychology. To fit into a world that’s competitive and success-oriented, we often pick up cues that we align given any circumstance. This invariably comes with a sense that we mustn’t feel any of the feelings that we know the world frowns upon. Which means we can’t be sad, angry, bitter, or any such thing.
When you’re focusing on self care, you’ll have to come back to the truth that you’ll have feelings and no matter how difficult they seem, there is good reason to heed them. It is anyone’s guess what long-term pent-up emotions can do. Alternative medicine even has made connections with emotions and auto-immune conditions like cancer.
3. It is: Showing how you feel authentically.
Emotions and feelings are seen the world over with a certain amount of wariness. Some people associate a lack of control with a show of emotions, some aren’t even in touch with how they feel and some are fearful of what might happen if they are to show their feelings.
While recognizing how important self care is, it is absolutely necessary that you look at the world with feelings and also figure how to express it. Safe expression is part of self care, and it’s essential you stay authentic to expression without causing harm to yourself or another.