Thursday, March 10, 2011
I was thinking how taking good care of ourselves emotionally and spiritually can be thought of as an extension of physical care, a complete personal hygiene. We do not say we are being selfish if we bathe everyday. Being clean and smelling good shows respect for ourselves and it shows respect for others. Regular bathing reduces exposure to infection, it reduces disease, and it feels good. It is simply a necessary habit for good health. We know it is good for us, and our society encourages us to do it.
But society does not always encourage us to take care of ourselves emotionally. Society teaches us that this is being *selfish*. But what happens when we go along with this belief? Just like somebody who has not bathed starts to smells bad, when somebody is always resentful and miserable, it has a negative impact on everybody around them. It is toxic. It brings other people down. The difference is that when it comes to our emotional states, it’s possible to hold on to negative emotions for weeks, months, and even years. Imagine being around a person who has not bathed in years!
But knowing this, we are still afraid of being selfish. How can we cleanse ourselves from negative emotions without impacting our relationships negatively? How can we rejuvenate ourselves responsibly? How can we make self care part of our daily routine? This is different for each person. Some people run. Some people garden. Some people sing and dance. Some people crochet. The method is not important. The trick is do make it a regular habit, like flossing!
Imagine how our lives would be different if emotional self care was expected of us by our spouses, our peers, and our co-workers? How different would our lives be if our self-care routine was respected and encouraged?