Breaking The Taboo Of Selfishness: A Case For Self Care
Last weekend I went to see a film, Straight Outta Compton. I entered the movie theater feeling desperate for a moment to spend with myself. I entered the movie theater shamed with feelings of guilt for ditching a work engagement I all but promised to attend. I entered the movie theater with the general nervousness that is all too familiar as I mapped out my time to the millisecond before having to pick up my two children from daycare. I entered the theater distracted by thoughts that I should be saving money, doing work, cleaning my home, paying a bill – and a litany of other “shoulds”.
I left the theater feeling inspired, with renewed energy and gratitude for the living legacies found in hip hop greatness. I was proud of the camaraderie that was birthed straight outta compton. While I’d be honored to share all of the many reasons why I am truly blown away by the symbolism of the film, my purpose here is to illuminate the need and ultimate utilization of self care.
Let’s take a look at the common condition of many.
We work countless hours, take care of our families, endure life’s unpredictable tragedies, embrace the chaos of success and accomplishment, and sometimes engage in philanthropic or volunteer efforts all for the purpose of making the world a better place. Naturally there are those systemic factors and individual circumstances that also influence our activities of daily living. The price we often pay for living such a full life, we refer to as stress: Sustained Turmoil and a Resistance to Support Self.
Now, we all know that a moderate level of stress arousal can be positive. This experience of stress is not debilitating or taxing as much as it is motivating. However, stress that is prolonged or extreme in its level of intensity I refer to as a sense of Sustained Turmoil, sometimes called chronic stress. This state of existence can directly impact our health from persistent headaches to a compromised immune system, making it difficult to fight off infection or illness. Worse and most common is a nurtured resilience that causes us to normalize stress so much so that we don’t even notice it until it manifests itself in our bodies or in the frequent utilization of unhealthy habits (e.g., drinking to de-stress/relax, comfort eating, etc.).
We refrain or actively resist supporting our own well being. We rationalize it away by telling ourselves:
“…I don’t have time today”
“…I don’t have the money right now”
“…People are depending on me”
“…I don’t even feel stressed out”
We have been conditioned to believe that attending to our own wellbeing intentionally and unapologetically is selfish. Caring for oneself ultimately allows you to better serve others. You can start by doing the following: