How fortunate are we, who live right now, in this information-rich age.
There is so much material available on the internet – the world is literally at our finger tips – but often we have to wade through a lot of muck to get to the really useful bits – the true – the reliable.
It applies to news and what we now commonly refer to as fake news – but nowhere is this more prevalent than in the area of self-development.
Today I want to talk about what we commonly call self-care.
It’s a topic often spoken of around recovery - even common place – and yet I feel we need to take a fresh look at it.
I’ve seen a lot of things recently about what people are calling ‘serious self-care’ or 'self-care for the not so faint-hearted'.
Some of what I have seen is really important – a call to go further, deeper, more meaningfully into caring for ourselves. I have read some really interesting articles and many have made me stop and think but I have noticed that many of the things I have come across, while true to a certain point, also carry a subtle dig, a judgement, at what is considered then to be pathetic attempts at self-care – things like getting a manicure, or buying oneself flowers.
The suggestion is that this is a kind of namby-pamby self-care – not deep, not real, not significant.
This is where I have a problem.
To me, self-care is at its very roots all about being kind to ourselves.
And here is what is important - there is no limit, level or scale in how we act with kindness towards ourselves.
Many of us have had to learn how to care for ourselves when self-care has been a foreign and quite alien process for us.
Many of us are still learning.
We have been strangers to the concept and like with all things, we have to start small. We start with the simple and easy things and no one has the right to undermine this starting place.
When I first heard about self-care I had no idea where to begin.
I made myself a very simple and basic list – and it was truly very basic. In fact, at first, I had no clue where to start and everything felt like a crazy struggle. Trying to come up with things that I liked or wanted felt quite overwhelming.
I took myself out for a coffee once in a while. I went for a walk without the children. I bought myself a magazine I liked to read. Some of the things I listed then are the kinds of things named in these articles as pathetic – they were basic – but this is how it should be!
That’s what growing up is all about.
Self-care, showing ourselves kindness, naturally will grow and evolve along with us – like every aspect of our growing, recovering life. But this one simple fact remains – there is no right or wrong – there is no superficial and deeper – there is no basic and advanced – there is one simple thing – that our practice of self-care is about showing kindness towards ourselves.
This so-called advanced level of self-care is just an over-complication of what is a very simple concept.
Be kind to yourself.
To the best of your ability.
Do whatever you need to do.
Are you being kind to yourself?
Sue Parry-Jones is a trained counsellor, a social worker and survivor of abuse. The content of the blog is both personal and sound. The words are relate-able and widely appealing to those struggling with survival from abuse in their own lives. More and more we are appreciating in our society that abuse affects a number of people’s lives and as more people are beginning to openly discuss what they have endured, so there is a huge need for encouragement and hope in the form of texts that deliver clear and concise yet real input. THe words shared here are honest, real and heart-felt.