Self-Care vs. Self-Sabotage
Let’s be honest – most of us aren’t doing self-care the way it’s intended to be done.
When we first dove into what self-care actually was ourselves, there were things we were really lacking in and things we did very well. A lot of what we have deemed as self-care as a society is just marketing. It’s anything that offers immediate gratification: beauty treatments, diet plans, abs, our phones. And this is where it gets tricky.
There’s a fine line between actually taking care of yourself, and using self-care methods as a way of self-medicating or avoiding your feelings and emotions.
Let’s talk about the differences of each two, and one of the best ways you can truly take care of yourself (in our experienced opinions)…
Just because something feels good doesn’t mean it helps.
What is Self-Sabotage?
Watching Netflix for days on end sounds good and relaxing in theory, but there’s a point of diminishing returns, right? We’re actually self-sabotaging when we do this because it reaches a point where it’s no longer helping. It’s hurting us because we’re hiding from whatever made us feel the need for self-care in the first place.
Just because something feels good doesn’t mean it helps. We have this idea in our minds that self-care needs to feel good, whatever the self-care activity may. Sometimes it’s true. We love unwinding at the end of the day with a few episodes of The Office. But if you do that every single night of every single day, it’s not really helping me toward anything, is it?
Same with your face masks and manicures and splurging with online shopping. We have to be careful with our intention behind habits like this.
When we’re not addressing the root issues, these are just ways to avoid life. And that right there is self-sabotage.
When we’re avoiding, we are seeking comfort. As humans, that’s what we want. It’s where we’re safe. In our human nature, we desire that homeostasis aka the numbing out. But remember, the comfort zone is not really where you want to be.
So ask yourself: Are you just enjoying an activity you don’t treat yourself to often, or are you avoiding life?
What is Self-Care?
In short, self-care is actually self-management activities. It’s designed to enhance your well-being.
Any kind of self-care means you are recognizing what you need to be working on – which oftentimes means stepping out of what feels comfortable in order to really take care of yourself. You don’t get anywhere by staying comfortable. Some self-care can be discomfort.
We think about physical self-care a lot, like exercise and eating healthy, and that’s something a lot of people know about. But there are other forms of self-care: emotional and mental, learning to love and accept yourself, and feel the feelings you’re experiencing. That part doesn’t always feel good, but it’s necessary for true self-care.
If you numb the bad feelings, you’re numbing all feelings. Even the good ones.
Feel Your Feelings
Feeling your feelings is one of the most important ways you can show yourself care in a way that’s going to benefit you in the long run, not just a short-term band aid.
First, recognize that your feelings are valid. They might not always reflect the truth, but the way you feel matters. And then you can approach them from a place of love, rather than fear or hate, and start to address those feelings.
Addressing them means letting yourself feel it all. Yes, even the hurt. Holding everything inward and hiding your true feelings doesn’t do you any good. Eventually, it will come out in a not so good way. And whether you see it or not, it affects your life every single day. How?
If you numb the bad feelings, you’re numbing all feelings. Even the good ones. You have to feel the things you don’t want to feel to reach the good stuff.
It’s just like lifting – if you’re afraid of a certain weight and you’re all in your head about hitting max singles, you probably won’t make it. But once you decide you are capable of facing that weight, you go out and crush it. The work to get there isn’t easy, and the lift itself might not be either, but you show yourself that you CAN do it.
Grab your journal and just let it all flow out – any and everything you’re feeling. Talk to a trusted family member or friend, or even schedule appointments with a professional therapist who can help walk you through and process these feelings in a healthy way.
Allowing yourself to sit with your emotions helps you realize they don’t have any control over you – you control them.
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