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Making Self-Care an Act of Love

In his book, The Mastery of Self, Don Miguel Ruiz Jr points out that every time we tie our self-worth and acceptance to a specific goal (i.e., looking/feeling a certain way), we attach our happiness to its achievement. When we reach the goal, our self esteem rises temporarily, but we are never satisfied for too long because we'll always raise the bar, once again pushing off our happiness to some far off destination. (Do you remember when your last hobby lost its fun?) And if we don't achieve our goal, we think less of our selves. "I am only worthy of my own acceptance and self-love if I am the best." Don suggests that we instead set goals from a place of self-love (instead of fear, shame, doubt or lack), loving ourselves throughout the process of working toward our goals. Rather than setting out to accomplish something to "fix" our selves, we strive because we love the process of what we're creating, changing or evolving.

One of the things I've learned in my later years is that self-care isn't about forbidding "unhealthy/bad" things in to your body (punishment for not feeling enough), but about giving your body what makes it feel good (because you love yourself). The former will perpetuate an unending feeling of unworthiness every time you act in an "imperfect" way, while the latter will feed your feelings of self-love and well-being. It's a subtle difference, but the impact is huge. I also know that when I feel good, I'm more likely to speak and act in ways that make others feel good too.

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