Self-Care v. Self-Love

Reflecting back on my childhood, my family never taught me, talked about, or modeled healthy ways of self-care. It wasn't until I was an adult that I learned about self-care. The more I learned and started adopting self-care habits, things in my life started to change. When I started evaluating my personal values, recognizing healthier boundaries and making time for myself, the people around me started to change. Eventually my life started to feel really peaceful. I was no longer feeling stressed anxious all the time. People and situations that once gave me grief and anxiety no longer felt threatening.

Perhaps, we should love ourselves so fiercely, that when others see us they know exactly how it should be done.
— Rudy Francisco

Fast forward to present day, motherhood. My husband works long hours, like many families, I parent without a village. As I navigate through this new journey, I am learning skills on how to set a different set of boundaries, schedule time in for my own self-care, and ask for help without feeling guilty.

My self care rituals looks different then before I had children.

Instead of practicing yoga and meditation everyday, I take time every day to turn inward and notice my breathing. Where do I feel my breath? How does my body feel?

Going to a class or getting in a full practice with children can be challenging. Alternatively, instead of one long practice, I focus on adding movement throughout my day. If my practice is just one lunge or forward bend. That is enough.

I have learned that I must be a model of self-care and set appropriate boundaries with my children. That might mean allowing them to play while I take a shower, spend time writing in my journal or planning out our activities for the week.

In our culture, asking for help is often seen as sign of weakness. However, I disagree. It is fear that keeps us from getting the help we need. Understanding your needs takes wisdom. Seeking help takes courage. Strength allows us to accept help without feeling guilt. 

You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.
— Jack Kornfield

As I evolve through my self-care journey, something that has come up for me is self-love. I have noticed that while I am able to take care of myself and "fill my cup", there is still a feeling of emptiness. I know in my mind, that my actions and efforts are well intended, but I still have this feeling of "not enough". I didn't meditate long enough, my practice was interrupted, I skipped a day of self-care, etc.

For the next 21 days, I will be embarking on a sadhana or focused intention of self-love. I will share parts of my journey and practice throughout my sadhana. To learn more about sadhana, I recommend this post from Wholehearter Yoga.