By Sarah Kathleen, BEAM Practitioner, Intuitive Energy Master, Yoga & Lifestyle Wellness Teacher & Coach
I recently said that “self-care is self-love in motion,” and as I quickly checked to see if I may have heard this before, I landed on a mindbodygreen article by Margaret Paul, Ph.D., a best-selling author and relationship expert who has counseled individual and couples since 1968, and to my surprise, Dr. Paul felt that self care and self love were in fact, different.
After reading her article I still wasn’t convinced by her claim so I began to dig a little deeper. While I understood her point of ‘we are often focused on ourselves physically, financially, organizationally, and spiritually; she felt that we failed about caring for ourselves emotionally.’
That statement seemed odd to me, perhaps because I have been focused on stewarding the development of an emotionally intelligent child – one who can regulate their emotional fluxuations to avoid tantrums and better enjoy and manage the sometimes perceived roller coaster ride of their feeling state or maybe it was because of my personal interest, life’s work and all of the self-work I’d explored.
I failed to see myself and others as fractured – separated from ourselves – siloed. Instead, I view us as complete and whole and that any focus on ourselves in any regard has an impact on all our “parts”.
On the other hand, I knew that our inner child programming could often get the best of us when relationship complexities and the stress of daily life brought us toward overwhelm, yet I still failed to agree that self care and self love were different.
As a mind-body-soul practitioner and highly-sensitive person who has lived with her mental and emotional state at the forefront of every self care activity I’ve engaged in, I found it odd to consider that I could actually separate myself in such a way, I accepted that Dr. Paul and I had a differing of opinion and I continued on…
Self Care opinions from others
Psych Central defined self-care as the following:
“Self-care is any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.”
Another PhD. on Psychology Today, Ilana Simons, would suggest that “being good to yourself” or exercising self-love in today’s society might look like “slowing down, letting the monster out, or escaping blame”, all of which to me felt guilt and shame inducing and in no way conducive to a thriving and fulfilling life.
An article on Continuum with expletives in the title shared researcher and therapist Meg-John Barker thoughts about the difference between “kind” self care and “reflective” self care in their work. “Kind self care practices are things like massages, hot baths, and sleeping in. Reflective self care activities are things that allow you to reflect on your emotional landscape, like journaling or meditation”. Categorizing of self care seemed to make it easier to understand that both types were important to ensure that ‘self love in motion’ covered all the bases to us developing and enjoying a greater sense of health and happiness.
Oxford Dictionaries defines self-care as:
“The practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.”
And further goes on to indicate that self-care is “the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.”
Perhaps we were getting somewhere or were we merely splitting English language hairs with self love being the act of consciousness and awareness that our own well-being and happiness were important and self care being the practice of taking action in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness?
I think today’s ‘always on’ perception of high expectations, immediate response, financially augmented cost of the basic necessities of food and shelter, and the perfectionist mask may have many of us feeling like a duck on a pond that at anytime might go way past postal.
Negativity and violence in the media, the high fear state of our schools, the capitalist machine that never sleeps and seems to expect that we don’t either, can all take their toll on our well-being and happiness. Unless we disconnect from the manifested dragon and feed ourselves with what we truly hunger for…Time, Tranquility, and Truth.
The debate as to whether self care = self love in motion will be all but moot.
Stay tuned for PART 2 of Our SELF LOVE Blog Series for suggestions on how to actually practice self love and how it can positively impact your body, mind and soul.