The Relationship Between Self-Care + Self-Worth: A Tool to Strengthen Your Self-Care Practice

Photo by Leighann Renee

Photo by Leighann Renee

Do you find yourself struggling with this idea of self-care? Have you tried incorporating all kinds of self-care practices that just don’t seem to stick?

For the record, my definition of self-care is pretty broad. When I say “self-care” I’m not just talking about fancy bubble baths or expensive meals (although the Taurus in me loves those!). I’m talking about the simple, basic stuff--balanced eating, getting enough daily movement and exercise, resting, spending time in nature, healthy boundaries, creativity, work/play balance, and being mindful of how much you’re exerting yourself physically, emotionally, relationally, and mentally.

Recently, I’ve been reflecting on my own self-care practices. Largely noticing this pattern of extreme fluctuation throughout my life with my relationship to self-care.

Historically, I’ve had these high, highs and low, lows when it came to self-care. There were extended periods of time where I was working out a lot, eating super clean, and getting a lot of rest. And then periods of time when I was doing the very opposite—overworking myself, making poor choices with food, and oversleeping and skipping exercise. I would feel horrible.

I found it really interesting that there was this consistent pattern of inconsistency when it came to my health and self-care. It made me think, “what’s keeping me attached to the highs and lows of this dynamic?”, “why am I afraid of being consistent with my self-care practice?”

I’ve been sitting with this for a few weeks now.

This weekend, I was working with a client on a holistic healing retreat who was grappling with the same dilemma around her own self-care. During her retreat, she was doing the morning ritual I structure for clients and she was asking herself out loud, “why am I NOT doing this daily? It’s so simple and it makes me feel so much better.” As we unpacked her own relationship to self-care and why she found it challenging to do these things, a light bulb went off in my head.

There is a direct correlation between self-care and self-worth. If we don’t feel worthy of feeling good, being successful, feeling fit, feeling energized, etc. then we won’t do the things we need to do to create that for ourselves.

I am certainly a believer in the law of attraction and that our thoughts carry a lot of power—positive and negative. What we think and believe can manifest into reality. And this concept also applies to self-care and the benefits from a consistent practice.

It helped me understand why this was challenging not only for my client but why it’s been a struggle for myself in the past. In the past, I was filled with so much self-loathing, I didn’t believe I deserved to feel happy, energetic, or fit. Every time I was on an up-swing with my self-care and headed in that direction of feeling really good I would suddenly stop.

I now understand that something within me, deep down, didn’t believe I deserved to feel the way I wanted.

Now, as I explore this re-defined relationship to self-care, I’m trying out a new method. When I catch myself wanting to make a healthy self-care choice, but feel some resistance, I say to myself, “I deserve to feel ______.” Maybe that blank is healthy, good, powerful, successful, vibrant, light, energetic, confident, etc.

And I say it over and over again. And what makes me feel those things may be different from what makes you feel those things. Self-care isn’t a one-size-fits-all idea. It’s unique to each person.

Our beliefs about ourselves, conscious or unconscious, are extremely powerful. With time, this new practice has begun to retrain my brain to associate a positive affirmation to self-care. Eventually, I won’t have to think or feel about it too much. I’ll just do it because I will fully believe I’m worthy of it. I’ve established a new belief system in my brain.

And yes, for some, this practice may feel inauthentic at first. But that’s the point—you’re having to retrain your brain into a new way of thinking. Whenever we do anything new there’s always the awkward discomfort and unfamiliarity. This also goes for changing our belief system and retraining the mind.

When we change our thoughts and beliefs into higher vibrating, empowering ones, we’ll be surprised by what we’re able to accomplish. Our thoughts effect everything.

Begin right now and say to yourself, “I deserve to feel good.”