You are precious and worthy and important. We need you. Not for what you’ll do, but for who you’ll be. For who you already are. And, to be honest, we don’t just need you. We need you in your full-hearted well-being.
But you don’t owe anyone anything.
Our needing you to show up full-heartedly? This is not to be confused with wellness. You do not owe anyone your wellness – or able-bodied-ness or invincibility.
You don’t owe anyone your productivity or an excuse for why you need rest. And, no matter what, you deserve to be able to show up in your full humanity without having to apologize.
Your need for self-care is not a short-coming.
You are a human being. Sometimes, you’ll hurt. Sometimes, you’ll need to rest. This is to be expected, and it is not weakness to admit it. It is not a short-coming to need self-care, no matter what form it takes.
And you get to decide what that self-care means for you.
It is not a failing to have needs. Nor is it selfish to meet them. The world can be a tough place and it isn’t unreasonable that you will occasionally need to recover from being a vulnerable human being in the world. Instead of powering on, as though you were a robot, take time to rest, digest, integrate, and heal.
From this place, you will be able to meet your important work in the world from a whole-hearted and powerful position.
Your productivity is not your worth.
Repeat that sentence as many times as you need to. Maybe every day. Maybe multiple times per day. Because this is not a lesson society wants us to know. It isn’t in the best interests of power-holders for us to know our own beauty and worth. Sometimes it seems like our beauty is hidden from us.
So we must remember on our own. Most of all, we must remind each other.
Self-care isn’t enough, sometimes.
I hate that I need to tell you this. But sometimes, it just hurts. Sometimes there is no self-care for the grief of what is happening to our planet and to fellow human beings. As a result of oppression in the world, we can be left with compassion fatigue.
This is the experience of being truly exhausted by caring deeply – to the point of burnout or apathy. Almost always this is a sign that you care deeply – not that you are ineffective or unworthy. Some days, the world just gets to us.
The key is: can we witness ourselves there, in that space? Can we summon some compassion or even just recognition there? Sometimes, there is no self-care practice that magically gets us back on our feet and into healer mode. Yet, this doesn’t have to mean giving up.
Self-care can be an act of resistance.
I’ve come to recognize self-care as an act of resistance. Not just in metaphorical sense, either. I see that self-care, in a true, literal sense, we are keeping ourselves alive and well – and engaged in compassionate action.
In addition, self-care is also an ally in combating the narratives of oppression that keep us separate. In the face of racism, sexism, homophobia, capitalism, et. al., we have internalized the notion that we are not enough. Furthermore, we have internalized the narrative that we are different and separate from one another.
As a result of embracing self-care, and by allowing ourselves to step into our power as self-healers, we destroy this narrative. We declare ourselves to be enough, to be worthy, to be whole, as we are. Without permission from those who seek to have power over us. Consequently, we take the juice out of any narrative that claims otherwise.
We can only truly be free together.
My freedom is bound up in yours (and vice versa). So I have a vested interest in all of us getting free together. We must take care with one another, and lift one another up. Encourage the people in your life to care for themselves well. Nurture and nourish your relationships and connections. And know that when you pause to tend to your own heart, you are offering that care to all of us.