Hillel says, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I?” Pirkei Avot 1:14
This adage has always resonated with me. What I appreciate most about it is the suggestion that our healthy existence on this earth is about BALANCE. As both a human being and as a psychologist, I know just how much our mental milieu is impacted upon by our ability to find balance in our lives. Many of us know this, especially in this age when terms like mind-body and work-life balance are thrown around. But…do we really KNOW this? I’m not so sure…
Two words, which I use at least five times a week during sessions with individual clients, are Self-Care. I can’t begin to tell you how confusing these two words are to my clients when they are first heard. Some of the confusion elicits these kinds of questions:
You can actually care for your Self?
Isn’t it selfish to engage in Self-Care?
How can I care for my SELF when I need to take care of others?
So begins the journey of identifying and exploring what self-care means, and why it is not only important, but crucial!
Imagine this: The Boston Pops or the NY Philharmonic gets on stage and the “first string” violinist forgot to tune his fiddle. Um…cacophony! Not only is that fiddle out of tune now, but so is the entire ensemble.
Humans need tuning too. We need to be care for ourselves so that we can step up and take a stand for ourselves, to be present to manifest our desires to live a full, BIG, and meaningful life…one which we deserve! Yes, deserve! It is our birthright to have the life we want, and we are the only ones who can make that actually happen.
Here’s the neat thing though. When we tune ourselves, when we set boundaries, or do yoga 2x week, or take a bubble bath, or write in our journals, or just plop on the couch after a stressful day, we are not only helping ourselves…we help the whole ensemble. Yes, when you are your best you for yourself, you are also the best wife, husband, daughter, lover, friend, therapist, fiddle player, etc ;).
So, remember this: when we show up for ourselves, balance is almost inevitable. Vice versa needs to be true too…when we show up for others, we also make a point of showing up for ourselves.
The ultimate bottom line though about balance and everything else is that it is a journey…keep at it just one step at a time.
Would love to hear your thoughts: Do you engage in healthy self-care? If so, how? If not, in what ways can you step up for yourself today?
Dr. Jen @BrainCurves