I’m not saying it isn’t important. I am not perpetuating the idea that we just need to give of ourselves perpetually and suck it up, buttercup. But I do hate “self-care.” I hate being told to take care of myself first. That I “can’t pour from an empty cup”. That I can’t help others until I help me first. That I need to make time for me. I hate all of that. You know why?
Because, why should I? WHY should I, after everything I do for my family, have to now schedule in time for ME?! WHY am I responsible for EVERYONE’S well being, including my own?! WHY do I have to take care of everyone else, and NOONE TAKES CARE OF ME?
I hate it, friends. It’s ironically selfish, yes, but it’s my honest reaction. Self-care is just another thing on my to-do list now. Another thing to feel guilty about if I don’t do enough. If I’m irritable at the boys or grumpy at Brian-well, should’ve made myself more of a priority shouldn’t I have? Obviously, I can’t fulfill my role of wife and mother well since I’m not prioritizing some “me time” to recharge. Tsk tsk, shame shame, if you were a better mom you’d wake up thirty minutes before your kids for your devotional and schedule weekly date nights with your spouse AND make sure you have time for a bubble bath and glass of wine at least biweekly. Don’t you dare make excuses about how busy you are, or how drained, or exhausted, you need to grow up and MAKE the time to recharge, because if not, well, it’s YOUR fault. Because it is “SELF-care.”
Bullshit. I am DONE with this “independence is best” CRAP that our culture spews. Guess what? I’m not a leader, and have no desire to be one. I’ve written blog posts about “followership” before, and durn it I’m content and proud to be someone who supports and assists instead of takes charge. Also, even as introverted as I am, I NEED friends. Maybe not a whole ton of them, lol, that can be a bit overwhelming, but yes, friends. Friends to talk to, to relate with, to give hugs (YES. I have been an awkward anti-hugger for most of my adult life, but I need them, this is truth whether I like it or not) to just make me feel less alone and crazy. I NEED my husband to take the kids without me asking, to clean without me requesting it, to give me a back rub WITHOUT any other demands (you know what I’m talking about, haha). I NEED this to help me recharge. I cannot take care of me alone, I NEED someone else to help. I am very invested in trying to meet the mental and emotional needs of my family, and I LOVE to be the person to listen and provide support and assurance as a friend, and yes, it’s exhausting at times because LIFE is exhausting, and no, I am not going to stop caring for people just because I’m worn out-I can’t. And don’t you dare tell me I shouldn’t care for people. But don’t tell me that I need to do ALL of this on my own. Yeah, I can’t pour from an empty cup, but that doesn’t mean I alone am responsible for filling it.
If there is anything that I have learned this past almost full year fighting depression, it’s that it’s OK to not be able to do stuff alone. It’s ok. It’s ok that I need Brian-he’s my husband, his job is to take care of me (and he does a good job of it). It’s ok that I need friends-God made the church body to be a BODY, which rather dramatically illustrates we need to not just work together, but that we FUNCTION together. A heart may keep beating a little bit when removed from the body (pretty cool, right?) buuuuttt soon enough it stops and the tissue dies (sorry, heart, should’ve done some more “self-care”). And, speaking of the body of Christ, while God is the ultimate source of my fulfillment and the One who “fills my cup”, in His wisdom He chose the CHURCH to be His tool on earth, which means some of that “filling” by Him comes THROUGH others.
I need people, yo. I bet you need people, too. And wherever you are in your personal beliefs (whether you are Christian and follow my above train of thought or not, haha), don’t be ashamed of needing others. I do think it’s important to learn how to say no when you are feeling overwhelmed, and to draw healthy boundaries in relationships, and to cherish the moments you get to recharge, and to not go the other extreme and NEVER treat yourself to something nice…but don’t ever feel guilty for needing help with life.
*** I realize that this is not what the initial “self-care” push intended at all, and it was more to encourage people to not feel guilty about prioritizing time to themselves when they feel overwhelmed. This is just how it feels from my perspective when it is in my face on every social media outlet and in articles and books and even in conversation. It’s another layer of guilt, of something I need to “do better” because otherwise I suck at doing life.***