“It’s not selfish to love yourself, take care of yourself, and to make your happiness a priority. It’s necessary.” ~Mandy Hale
I have to start off with how I define the different levels of self-care.
There is what I call surface-level self-care. This would be things like getting your nails done and taking a bubble bath. Very important stuff but not the type of self-care that’s going to help you make the changes on the inside that create change in your outside world.
Then we have deep-level self-care. I define this as working on things like setting and maintaining boundaries, learning how to reframe your mindset, and reconnecting with your inner voice. This is the type of self-care that can be really life changing. This type of self-care can improve your physical and mental health, your relationships, your work/business, your overall outlook, and your experience of life. So it’s pretty important.
You see, when I was just thirty-nine years old, I learned the importance of deep-level self-care by way of force. I was working really hard in a 100% commission sales job, and I was a single mom of three with no support system. I didn’t have the village part in the “It takes a village” proverb. On top of this, I was under a lot of stress from a recent difficult divorce and a move.
I was somewhat aware of my stress levels, but I also felt like I had no choice. I kept saying to myself, “I’m young, I’ll be fine.” I want to also add I was in the best shape of my life because my way of dealing with the anger from my divorce was working out. So to say I was pretty buff was an understatement.
Then one day my body said, “So you think you don’t need rest? Well, I’ll show you.” And I had a stroke, at thirty-nine. Yup, I was forced to learn how to rest and care for myself.
This was a lesson I am now so grateful for. I’m here, with my kids. It was a long healing process physically. A whole other story, but it was also a whole healing process mentally. How to slow down and, dare I say, put myself first. Who says that? No one, that’s who. It’s actually a very unpopular opinion.
We still live in a hustle-type culture where our value is often judged by how hard we work, how selfless we can be, and how many things we can accomplish at once all while looking super hot and put together. Putting yourself first is looked down upon as selfish and labels you lazy, and people often think you’re too sensitive or too soft.
I’m here today to share with you three powerful reasons why putting yourself first and practicing deep-level self-care is not selfish, but it actually benefits everyone as a whole. Hopefully, I can help you avoid a hard lesson like the one I experienced.
1. When we start to take care of ourselves at a high level, we start to step into the highest version of ourselves.
We then get to share that version with everyone. Your partner, your kids, your work—everyone. When you show up for yourself first, you have more energy, patience, and brain space for everyone else.
Who do you think the world benefits from more—the stressed out and tired you that is running on empty, or the well-rested, sharp, kind, and patient you? Well, we all know the answer to that question. The world benefits when you put yourself first.
2. When you start making it a regular natural standard to put yourself first and care for yourself at the deepest level, everyone is watching you.
All those same people. Your partner, children, parents, friends, co-workers—everyone. When they see how you care for yourself and then how you show up for yourself and them, they then realize this is also possible for them and worth doing. You will automatically become a role model and a leader. You’re showing others what is possible for them too. I can’t think of anything better to teach the world and my kids.
3. When you show up for yourself and treat yourself with this high level of care, the way you deserve to be treated, you are also showing people the standard to which you expect to be treated.
People are watching you, they see how you treat yourself, and they know this is what you expect in your life, and nothing less.
Think about it. We all know those people that everyone knows not to mess with on any level. When they’re sleeping, working, taking that bubble bath. Then we also know the person that’s worn out doing everything for everyone with nothing left for themselves. Who do you want to be? What do you deserve? I’ll tell you, we all deserve the very best. We teach everyone how to treat us by the way we treat ourselves. Once again, we are the role model for others to show them what is possible.
Now I believe there is no end to the benefits of taking care of yourself at this high level. What I hope you see today is the ripple effect it has on your entire community and the world.
So how do we get started? Good question. I would love to share some of the first steps that are simple and free, but not always easy. It involves taking responsibility for yourself completely and knowing that you get to create the experience in life that you want to have.
The first step is to decide (before you have a stroke) that you are ready to make some changes and start practicing daily deep-level self-care.
An easy way to get started is to become aware of all the places in your life where you feel underappreciated, taken advantage of, or slighted in some way. Where you find yourself saying things like, “No one ever appreciates the things I do, no one notices, and everyone just walks all over me.”
These are the places where you need to set and maintain some boundaries to protect your energy and your well-being. Boundaries lessen your stress and anxiety, they create space for rest, and sometimes they even create more time for you.
Some of the common places we need to set boundaries are in our relationships, in our work life and business and, most importantly, with ourselves. Also, keep in mind that it is our job to maintain these boundaries and our job alone.
This is a perfect example of a work/business boundary and a boundary with myself. I used to work in real estate sales. This, as I said earlier, is a 100% commission position, meaning no matter how much you work, you will not get paid until you sell something and it closes. So most realtors are not good at turning away business because there is the thought of, what if I don’t get any new clients for a while? This is also applicable to many other businesses.
The boundary I knew I needed to set to protect my health and the time with my kids was that all calls I received after 6 p.m. would be returned the next day. This was on my voicemail message. This was a very easy boundary to set but not to maintain.
This was more of a boundary for me. I had to let a prospective client go to voicemail knowing most realtors always answer their phones. But I knew if I didn’t respect my own boundary, no one would. This boundary gave me the space I needed to unwind at the end of the day, and I always knew at 6:00, I was done.
When you create this space for yourself, you allow yourself to turn off and just be yourself. You allow rest, you allow space and time for family and fun. You give yourself the space you need to recharge for the next day.
You then get to show up as that well-rested version of you!
So decide to take responsibility for the way you get to experience life and become aware of the places where you need to set and then maintain those boundaries. Remember, boundaries are the foundation for all self-care.
Love yourself and care for yourself at the deepest level daily.