Learning to Prioritize Self Care:
Build daily habits to increase satisfaction & ease
By: Alkmini Hormovas, LMFT
If you take a moment to think about the terms self concern & selfishness what comes to mind?
I have seen that people who suffer from constant worry and tension do not have enough daily habits that nourish, uplift and balance them. We forget to take good care of ourselves sometimes, or all the time. If you google the term self concern, you will probably find synonyms such as selfish, egotistical and self involved. It is unfortunate that these two terms are so closely related in many people's minds.
Self concern, or self care, is different from selfishness. Self concern involves tending to yourself with supportive daily and weekly habits. These acts, habits, rituals and exercises support your personal, professional and home life. You must be specific and clearly able to say what the self care practice is. Please see my 3-part series on Self Care for more on how to get started on a self care plan.
Selfishness is different than self care or self concern.
With selfishness there is a lack of consideration for others. Our selfish parts can disregard the well being of others in pursuit of something that benefits us. Self care, on the other hand, includes no harm to self and others. Self care and healthy self concern includes daily actions that help you feel engaged and invested in caring for your overall well being. No one is harmed if you take a walk on the beach, cook your favorite meal, listen to your favorite song, pet an animal, explore a new neighborhood, stretch your body or stand in the sun.
I hope you will consider these terms for yourself. It has come across to me that many people feel that engaging in therapy and taking time for themselves is selfish in some way. For me, this couldn't be further from the reality of what therapy and self care can provide. Therapy is self care and a healthy therapeutic experience that can benefit the individual, as well as those relating to that person. Therapeutic qualities are shared all the time as we come into contact with others. This is particularly true within in the context of therapy.
See my next entry on Self Discipline and maintaining daily habits for balance in your self care plan.