Self-Care + Self-Love
I’ve had some very interesting conversations lately, particularly about self-care. Is self-care actually an act of self-love? Are they totally different or one in the same? The following is not meant to be the definitive answer but rather prompts to think about as you cultivate a practice of attending to the self. Let’s take a look at some common themes that come up in our lives and how we might respond from a place of self-care or a place of self-love.
Responding to I’m tired from a place of self-care might look like taking a 5-minute meditation break, taking a nap, or stopping all activity for the day and just resting. A self-love response might go a little deeper by asking questions. Why am I tired? What can I change in my life so that I don’t feel tired as often? Can I make better choices with my lifestyle that can contribute to a more energetic state of being?
My skin is dry, cracked, or peeling.
Common in these months, right? You might slather on some shea butter or take yourself for a spa day and call it self-care. But when you ask yourself, “Is there anything that I’m doing to contribute to my dry skin?” you might find that you haven’t been drinking enough water. Maybe you do a little research and find out that eating whole, fresh, fruits and vegetables does wonders for the skin, healing you from the inside out. Is this self-love?
Whether brought on by an external circumstance or an internal flux of emotions, sadness is a natural part of life. We can learn a lot from this emotion, so many choose to write down
these feelings in a journal. This form of self-care is very therapeutic and helps us to understand ourselves more deeply. To add self-love on top of that, we might chant affirmations that transmute our sadness into positivity. We might also explore what decisions can be made (if any) to change our circumstances for more consistent, positive outcomes.
I’m out of shape.
Maybe having that extra slice of pound cake was an act of self-care. No judgement here. But now you feel out of shape and the way you choose to care for yourself may be a membership to your favorite yoga studio. Self-love responses to this feeling might start with “I love myself just as I am.” “I’m doing my best, and I look great.” You might then move to asking yourself how you got out of shape so that you can change the behavior to achieve success.
Ultimately, I personally believe that self-care is a function of self-love. However, I believe that it also works in a cycle. If I’m feeling tired and I decide to “self-care” and rest for the remainder of the day, I am cultivating self-love just by that act. When I respond with self-love by giving my thoughts and feelings attention and then adding action, that is self-care.
What do you think? Are self-care and self-love really the same thing? Are they the opposite of what you’ve just read here? Let us know in the comments!