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@HEARDinLONDON #blog

Shifting Our Self-Care Process: Investing in ourselves as well as others

In a world which often prioritises external appearances and emphasises the value of people socialised as women is mostly based on their ability to serve others, it's no wonder so many of us find it challenging to invest in our own well-being. How can we spend money on self-care (or heaven forbid – frivolity) when Johnny wants new trainers, your make is getting married in the summer, and you really should offer to pay for that meal your mates invited you to.  Maybe the whole table.  Even though you cannot afford it.


Out thoughts about ourselves trickle into the way we behave around money with a painful clarity.  If we are taught our value comes from what we do for others, how “selfless” we are and all this is labelled as “good” (and we should all strive to be “good girls”) no wonder this stuff is wrapped in guilt and obligation in our minds.


Of course, we still struggle to devote time and energy to things which are solely for our own benefit – we have been taught there is nothing more scandalous than self-care (don’t even start me on the weaponisation of the word “selfish” – who else are we meant to be?). We have been conditioned to believe that caring for ourselves is indulgent, that it takes away from our responsibilities to others and makes us less wholesome in some way.


And with all of this pressure telling us we are terrible people for having needs, no wonder we prioritise the needs of our family, our job, the causes we care about, and our friends over our own well-being.  You may have just flinched at that.  I mean, of course, you should put your family first.  Really?  Even at your own expense?  At the expense of your health?  Your mental well-being?  How far does that theory go for you?  And how well are they doing really, when you do sacrifice so much of yourself?


It's important to challenge this belief and recognise that investing in ourselves is not only beneficial for us but also for the people around us. And I don’t think that should be the sole motivation, but we could do with a foot on the ladder for many of us.  When we prioritise our own well-being, we become better equipped to show up fully in our relationships, work, and community. Taking care of ourselves allows us to recharge, set boundaries, and navigate life with more resilience and authenticity.  We model how we believe humans should be treated and treat themselves.


This is an essential step towards building a strong foundation for our overall well-being. When we gain a better understanding of ourselves, our emotions, and our needs, we are able to be more present in how we show up in the world, for ourselves and others. This self-awareness enables us to make better decisions, set healthy boundaries, and cultivate fulfilling relationships.  And how many of those things do you hear people say were taught to them when they were younger?  I can’t help but imagine how different the world might be if they were.


By dedicating time and energy to our own growth, we expand our knowledge, skills, and perspectives. This growth empowers us to pursue our passions, embrace new opportunities, and create a life that aligns with our authentic selves.


It's crucial for all of us to grow that we challenge the narrative that praises self-neglect. We need to redefine what success and worthiness mean for ourselves. We deserve to invest our time, and energy into our own happiness, fulfillment, and growth, just as much as anyone else.


Imagine a world where people socialised as women prioritised their own well-being without guilt or hesitation. A world where diverse voices and contributions are valued, and where we can all thrive in our lives, alongside each other, not at the expense of each other. By doing so, we not only empower ourselves but also pave the way for future generations of women to live their lives authentically and unapologetically.  And perhaps, just perhaps, stop feeling so damn exhausted all the time.

 


An Asian woman holds a sparkler

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