Faux Self Care

Apr 17, 2023

I am fully committed to raising the communal level of emotional and mental well being among women in my life, one client at a time, one daughter or niece at a time, one friend at a time. 

And to achieve this requires committed inner work. 
Work at the thought and feeling level before the action level. 

So you know what drives me crazy?
When a woman is burnt out, exhausted, at wit's end, living in quiet desperation, or is simply stuck and others tell her...
You just need a spa day.
Go get a manicure.
To take a bubble bath.
To book a massage.
A new pair of shoes is the answer.

First off, I am all for everything on the above list, but not as a way to solve for areas of struggle, only as icing on the cake. I mean, I know these are well meaning suggestions, but they are like telling someone a pedicure is the answer to a broken leg. 

I'm in love with the new term
as it relates to the above. 
(I mean it includes a french word so you know I'm all in!)

Here's how you can tell if it is faux - if it only involves the external and ignores the internal. 

Faux self care is a remedy, not a foundational shift. 
Faux trains us to look outside of us to solve for deeply internal conflicts.

If you are beating yourself up 24/7, getting a manicure will not solve for it.
If you are consumed with resentment, the massage will be restful, but ...
If you are a one woman show and desperately need help, a bubble bath is not the answer.

Here's one more clue that your self care is faux - if it is an escape instead of an integrated practice. Sort of like overeating or drinking or spending. Momentary dopamine hit, with a negative impact on true well-being or a not negative, but a distraction. 

Guess what real self care involves?

  • Making decisions that prevent the struggle from developing in the first place
  • Setting boundaries - with your time, your energy, what you'll consume - food, info, others' thoughts, voicing your expectations
  • Shifting how you talk to yourself about yourself - getting very clear about the soundtrack playing in your head and once and for all deleting the thoughts from the play list that are not true, kind, or helpful while also developing deep compassion for yourself.
  • Living a life that is in alignment with your values thus eliminating many internal conflicts

I get why we resort to quickies like massages and pedicures. 
They do not involve any discomfort.

And they involve minimal choice - hot stone or deep tissue .... Ballerina slippers or I'm not really a waitress OPI color.
True self care does involve discomfort, at least initially. 
But once you've invested in the discomfort, comfort awaits you.
Pinky promise even. 

So, if you are feeling that niggle in your life that something is just off.
Or it is more than a niggle, like a full on disruption
I encourage you to pack your calendar with time to: 
1) make decisions and decide on boundaries
2) create gentle, compassionate, loving thoughts, and
3) engage in activities (at work and home) that reflect your values.

And if there is an hour left over, for goodness sakes try out that new hot blue nail polish everyone is wearing. 

True self care = True emotional and mental well being*
* my measurement of success.

Hugs dear you,