Self Care – Putting You First for a more Fulfilling Life by Carole Langman
Self Care – what does it mean to you? How are you going to ensure that you put yourself first, in order that your life is more fulfilling? From the Buddhist point of view you have to care for yourself before you can really care about other people. But what does that really mean?
The harmful effects of self criticism
To start with let’s take a look at how critical we are about ourselves. Self criticism is not at all helpful and in actual fact, makes things worse. By beating yourself up all the time you cause yourself to feel useless, inadequate and insecure. This in turn has a knock-on effect and can end up by you spreading anger and frustration on others close to you.
Look at something from a different viewpoint
Instead look at it from another perspective, and think about determining your sense of self worth. Self esteem can veer from narcissism to prejudice, discrimination and judgement of others. For example, at one end of the scale, we sometimes believe that others don’t match up to our lofty standards. But it helps to think about their situation, and how similar it can be to us and ours. Think about how we can sometimes make bad decisions, mistakes and make bad choices in life. No one is perfect – at least not all of the time! Life is about wholeness and integration.
Compassion is relevant for everyone
Think about ways to develop compassion for others in difficult situations, as well as ourselves. Compassion is relevant for all of us. From blameless victims to people who are suffering from personal weaknesses, we have all been in these situations at times. It really does help to be kind towards people who are suffering and to want to try to help them. And to recognise that we all can have the same or similar struggles in life. Don’t you find that there are many times in life which can leaving us feeling fraught with problems and issues?
Compassion is the ability to feel for another living being. Empathy is the ability to not only understand another’s feelings, but also to become one with that person’s distress… to put yourself in their shoes and imagine what they’re going through in that situation. ~ Laurie Parish
Expressing your Needs
We don’t always recognise in ourselves that we are suffering. We often don’t take the time to reflect on how hard things are. Perhaps we have always been told – ‘be quiet, don’t put yourself first, don’t be selfish.’ Consequently we don’t express our own needs. Self compassion involves wanting our lives to be well rounded and healthy, and wanting to feel happy and secure. It is not about self indulgence. It is not about criticising yourself for any mistakes you have made – or about trying to be perfect.
Give yourself unconditional kindness and comfort, the same as you would for others. Don’t cling onto destructive patterns full of fearful, negatives and feelings of isolation.
- Of not being as equal as others.
- Of being a lesser important person.
Instead look towards a brighter, better future where self compassion and self care will keep you going, and will help you move onto a better place. Next week we will look at easy steps to help you.