Sometimes, self-improvement work becomes reduced to yet another form of internalized oppression.
When I’ve been asked in the past to put together a “stress-reduction” program or a “resilience” program to help employees practice more “self-care,” I’ve often responded with wariness.
While we may benefit from many tips and tricks that might help us become more resilient in the face of pressure, putting the emphasis on people’s resilience and self-care can deflect responsibility from the very real need for systemic change. Then our “self-care” can become a way of being complicit with a toxic system.
The deep lingering and unsettling feeling of something being “wrong” with me has often sent me on multiple personal growth paths only to discover that once again, I’m abandoning myself to fit someone else’s template of who I should be.
True self-care is not about “fixing” ourselves to meet culturally defined standards of normalcy and productivity. Nor is it about numbing ourselves out with Netflix and Negronis, so that we can reluctantly pull ourselves begrudgingly through another week of work.
True self-care is about coming home to ourselves.
It’s about honoring our feelings, connecting with our needs, living into our values, and staying choiceful in all moments.
It’s about permission to rest when our bodies and souls need rest.
It’s about permission to cry when we have lumps in our throat.
It’s about permission to roar when passions arise in us and we want to defend and protect something precious and tender.
It’s about the life-long journey of learning to trust ourselves, follow ourselves, honor ourselves and work with ourselves.
Our personal growth journeys are not meant to be reduced to yet another performance standard that we’re trying to achieve, or become yet another way we turn on ourselves and work against ourselves.
What happens when you embrace yourself as you are and love yourself up?
Join us in our Full Membership this May to explore a different kind of self-care, one that actually restores and energizes you. All month long, we’ll be exploring The Art of Self-Care.
Would you like to listen to yourself instead of overriding yourself, or practice honoring yourself instead of arguing with yourself?
If so, sign up for the month and reinvigorate your approach to self-care.