Why Self-Care Isn't Enough
Author: Portia B.
Can we chill on self-care, please? We have worn the phrase into the ground. Everyday I am reading an article or tweet or ad campaign about self-care. My beef isn’t with the act of self-care, however,I dislike the way we have capitalized off of it and misused it!
If you’re wondering “Why are you so mad about this?” I’m not mad. I too am no stranger to a manicure and a quiet Friday night in. At the same time, I do see where self-care as we use it currently, is not enough. Capitalism has made self-care about material things. We associate self-care with materialistic values-- peel-off face masks, green smoothies and expensive vanilla scented candles. This “Face mask self-care movement” isn’t attainable (or necessary) for everyone or every situation. We slap a “self-care” sticker on anything that presents itself as even min self preserving. Ultimately, it does not truly heal or sustain us-- especially not in Anti-black, anti-queer, anti-working-class Trump’s America.
Ask yourself this: Why am I constantly in need of self-care? Is there a deeper concern driving you to continuously buy things to pamper yourself with?
Lets begin to center our self-care around things that will actually sustain us. For starters, I am beginning to use the term “self-repair” because it reflects my current ambitions. Additionally I am putting focus on more transformative habits and thoughts like these:
1. Actively setting goals and intentions
Self-repair should always keep us moving forward and not backward. I believe goals are goals, no matter how small. We should set goals constantly. Write them down, see them through. There is no greater reward than seeing your intentions come to fruition.
2. Evaluating the outcomes of our goals
After we establish a habit of goal setting, look at the “why” behind our successes and failures. This is a good way to see patterns in our behavior so we can either work to continue that pattern or work to cut it out.
3. Checking the state of our relationships
The people we spend time with either enhance our lives or stress us out. Sometimes when we need self-repair it is due to damage done by folks around us. There are two actions we can take here:
Take a look at who we spend time with and what residue they are leaving on your life?
Watch out for relationships that can use some grooming and see what you can do to mend them or help them grow.
4. Trying new things often
Go to a Zumba class, start painting, join a club or organization. I love getting to know myself and introducing new experiences is a brilliant way to find out what we need more of and what we can do away with. These new experiences can lead us to activities or hobbies that aid us in healthy forms of self-repair.
5. Holding our morals close
What do you value? Is it honesty? Individuality? Whatever it may be, we should aim to see those values in the careers we pursue, the habits we take on, the friends we make, the lovers we engage with. Whatever we identify with morally should be the guiding light in our decision making (even choices that seem small) this method of thinking can help us stay on a track for more permanent self-repair.
Don’t get me wrong, I still want you to exfoliate and buy all the Lush bath bombs you see fit. But consider shifting your thinking about self-care away from material things that only pacify the real issues. Make your self-repair about facing the ugly stuff and really getting to know yourself inside and out.