How to be a Good Friend (to Yourself)

We all know that self-care is important. We hear it all the time.

We hear people say that self-care is important for our physical and emotional well-being, that it isn't selfish, and doesn’t mean you are choosing yourself over your loved ones. But, let’s be honest, do you really make time for self-care?

Cancer taught me how important it was to make self-care a priority. I was told that I needed to focus more on myself and let go of trying to take care of everyone else. I learned that my needs were important. I should have learned my lesson . I know.. I know, but….

But then, after I was feeling better, life got busy again and I got back into the groove of serving others. For me, even after all I've been through, self-care still feels indulgent.  

Why is that? Why do we revert to old behaviors? Why have I reverted back to being the self-designated "global caregiver"?

A friend explained it to me this way: “We need to be mindful that it is remarkably easy to fall back into old behaviors. We think that we have traveled so far from the things we left behind, when in realty that “old track” runs parallel to our new one. Before we know it, we can be doing things we swore we would never do again.”

His advice helped me a lot. I never thought of the dual-track analogy before, but it makes sense. Changing an old behavior is not “one and done”, sometimes we need to remind ourselves repeatedly to let go of the old behavior and to embrace the new one.

Here’s something else that really helped me.

I recently heard self-care defined as “the intentional practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health, well-being, and happiness.”

Now, that sounds like something I can embrace.

If I remember that self-care is necessary to help preserve or improve my own health, well-being and happiness, I can more easily regulate myself on the “over helping scale”. I can rebalance and make sure I am being my own best friend.

She vowed to learn to love herself
Like a child learns to walk,
Even if that took some falling
And some ‘you can do it’ talk.
She pulled herself up on unsteady footing
And knew that one step was a start,
Until it become second nature
To have walking down to an art.
But just as walking starting with crawling
She knew self-love started with self-like,
And that losing her footing occasionally
Didn’t mean the finish line was out of sight.

If self-care is something you struggle with, remember that changing old behaviors is a lifelong process. But, keep trying.  It is so important to give ourselves this dedicated time for our health, wellbeing and happiness.

You deserve to be your own best friend!  💗


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