I’ve been thinking about this lately. When we believe we are important enough to take care of, we start understanding what incorporating self-care into our lives looks like. I was raised in a very traumatic environment, so this has been a huge struggle for me. I didn’t understand the importance of self-care and self-love until recently, when I began to see my own healing coming through these two things slowly but surely over time.
I used to believe that coddling was a form of self-care, and spent a great deal of time eating too much food or spending money I didn’t really have. Or just indulging in whatever I wanted in the moment. I believe this is just as much a form of self-medicating as abusing drugs or alcohol. A milder form, but definitely in the coddling category. It’s not self-love. It’s actually harming my sense of well-being. I’ve definitely had addictive tendencies, particularly with food. These tendencies are from self- harm, not self care.
So what does self-care look like? For me it’s eating properly and exercising, as well as attending therapist sessions and chiropractor appointments. It’s also pursuing my passions. I’m obsessed with music and singing. I just can’t get enough. I have never seen myself as a “musician” — but I also can’t stop singing. I do it everywhere all the time, as it’s my favorite thing in the world. I don’t know what will happen with it, but it doesn’t matter. I just love doing it so much. (Have I mentioned I love singing??).
Learning self-defense has become another passion of mine. I believe it’s a very important form of self-care. It’s so important to, at the very least, know how to protect myself. It’s challenging to say the least, but can protect me and possibly save my life. It can be therapeutic as well. For me, it’s created a hunger to eventually take on learning a martial art. This will eventually be another form of self-care and, very possibly, a path in my healing.
I think the toughest concept to understand is how coddling oneself isn’t self- care. It’s actually destructive. We think indulging ourselves means we love ourselves. Society even encourages this behavior. The general consensus is, “If it feels good, do it.” But with no limits, doing what feels good to you can destroy you. That’s how addictions are born. Anything we do, particularly coddling behaviors, can become unbalanced.
If we continue to coddle ourselves and feed our addictions, we’re never going to grow and move past what keeps us bound. Self-care can challenge us. It will create growth. It will promote healing in multiple ways. Learning self defense has become an integral part of my own self-care. It challenges me on a continuous basis. I find myself doing things I’m uncomfortable with all the time. But I know if I don’t get out of my comfort zone — if I don’t challenge myself — I’ll never grow. We just simply can’t coddle ourselves and expect to grow. We can’t coddle ourselves and expect to really change.
Self-care can be anything that helps you become the best version of yourself. It’s always going to make you think, be challenged, and grow as a result. Whatever self-care — and ultimately self-love — looks like for you, I highly recommend you give it a try. You’ll never be sorry you did.