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Why Self-Care Isn’t Selfish
Meet Julie Reisler
Julie Reisler is a certified master life coach with over ten years of coaching experience and a master’s degree in health & wellness coaching from the Maryland University of Integrative Health. Julie is the founder of the Life Designer Coach Academy, a certification for life coaches, and a professor at Georgetown University. She is also the host and founder of the You-est You Podcast, which is now in over 175 countries with 300+ episodes, and the author of Get a PhD in YOU. Julie has been featured in Forbes magazine, MindBodyGreen, Bustle, The Chopra Center and Thrive Global. She is also a prominent teacher, course creator, and guide on the popular app, Insight Timer. To learn more about Julie and how she might support you on your You-est You journey, go to juliereisler.com.
Let’s get one thing straight here, you are the one living with yourself for hopefully a very long time. Taking care of yourself; mind, body, emotionally, and spiritually is one of the kindest things you can do for, yes, yourself, but also for others around you and the world. No one will ever be able to care for you the way you can, and although it might feel awkward at first, or even wrong, don’t let that deter you from making self-care a priority. Here’s why…you were probably raised in a society, culture, family, or maybe even religion that told you spending time on yourself is selfish. Like many of us, you might have beliefs and thoughts about the importance of putting others first. We’re often taught that to be a good person is to put others first. I’m going to share why this is faulty thinking and can lead you down the path of overwhelm, burnout, and even chronic illness.
Self-care is Self-love
The bottom line is that the more you take care of yourself, the more you have to help others. The more aligned, grounded, hopeful, healthy, and well you feel, the more you have to give these qualities to others you love and care about. As Oprah shares in many of her motivational talks, your cup must runneth over so you can give from a full cup, not an empty one.
Ok, let’s come clean here. How many of you feel guilty even seeing the word selfish? I’m guessing most of you felt some pang of discomfort reading that word. Let’s agree that our society has created a negative connotation around being selfish. It’s used in arguments to suggest that you care about yourself more than your spouse, partner, child, parent, or friend. Somehow you are deemed a ‘bad’ person by focusing on your own needs or desires and wants first. There is an inherent negative judgment wrapped up in this word. Being called selfish is usually not what we’re aiming to hear or be associated with. Here’s the secret, everyone by definition is ‘selfish’ because you can only come from your own viewpoint, from your view within yourself. You by default have a personalized filter that sees the world by the sum total of your past experiences. This is natural and part of how we’re designed. I’m not saying that you should care only about yourself and live a myopic existence. What I am conveying, is that in order to give fully and be a contribution to your family, friends, careers, society, and the world, you need to take care of your full self; mind, body, and soul. As defined, selfishness can be described as being concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself (Merriam-Webster dictionary). In contrast, I propose that the word self-full could be defined as concerned with or responsible for the care of yourself; mind, body, and soul. It’s important to be filled up and feel full within yourself. Not full of yourself, but full within you. No one else, not your significant other or best friend, can do that or give that to you, nor are they responsible for your fulfillment.
Why Self-Care is NOT Selfish
Here’s the other irony about being selfish, and read this carefully. The. Most. Important. Relationship. Is. The. One. With. Yourself. No matter what anyone else tells you, you can’t argue with the fact that you will be with yourself for the rest of your life. You can’t give away what you don’t have. If you are focused only on giving to everyone else, then you become depleted, frustrated, annoyed, cranky, and low energy. Giving from a place of depletion does not lead to loving acts of kindness, service, or being your truest, you-est you. First, you must give yourself permission. By giving yourself the permission and time to engage in self-loving acts, you are giving those around you permission to do this as well. The same is also conversely true.
Become Full in Yourself
Here’s why being “self-full” is good for you: Picture this scenario: you know how it goes though; you get up and snooze, only to have enough time to get your teeth brushed, a shower (if you’re lucky) and your children’s lunch in their bag (if they’re lucky) with breakfast on the go in the car. It is on those kinds of days, that being self-full is that much more important. I know in those crazy rushed moments, taking time to meditate, journal, focus on gratitude, and take myself to tea and a yoga class is essential for my health, mindset, well-being, and how I show up as a parent later that afternoon at carpool pick up. Some might say I’m selfish to take 2 hours to do these activities during the day. I’ve found that it’s one of the most loving things I can do for myself, my family, and for others. Not to mention, I took time to lower my stress response, eat a nutrient-dense meal, move my body with mindfulness, and reboot after a challenging morning.
Some of the ways you can fill yourself up are through daily meditation, creating empowering vision boards, taking out processed food, drinking more water, doing some kind of movement and connecting with nature (I highly recommend hugging a tree – seriously) or just something you know that brings you joy. My typical daily practice is to do something self-full in each of these areas; mind, body, and soul. When I do, I feel calmer inside, focused, steady, vibrant, positive, and deeply connected to my higher self and purpose. This elevates all of my relationships, most importantly the one with myself. I encourage you to give yourself permission to be ‘selfish’, in fact, redefine that way of being as self-full, understand the role it plays in your health; your mind, body, and soul, and know deep in your heart that a self-full you allows you to become to the truest, you-est you.
More Expert Tips For Greater Self-Care
- Having clear boundaries — saying no to opportunities, invites, and anything that is not a full yes
- Daily meditation or mindfulness practice (consistency is key) — start small with a 5-minute guided meditation, breathwork, or 20-minute nature walk
- Connect with others who bring you joy and raise your energy (in person as much as you can)
- Eating foods that truly nourish your body and energy (keep processed foods to a minimum and eat whole foods found in their natural form)
- Energy, sound, and aromatherapy healing practices like Reiki, 528 Hz sound frequencies, and sound bowls
- Work with a trained coach or therapist (or both) for greater clarity, healing, and empowerment around your goals
If you’re eager to read my Bustle article, 6 Expert Tips for Finding Success Without Mental Health, click here.
If you are feeling ready to take exquisite care of your You-est You and are looking for more support, mentorship, and guidance around designing your best life and releasing negative old stories, patterns and beliefs, book a transformative breakthrough coaching session with me at https://juliereisler.com/mentorship. To chat further, connect with me at firstname.lastname@example.org to see if I’m the right coach for you.
To check out my article, 6 Expert Tips for Finding Success Without Sacrificing Mental Health, on Bustle, click here.
If you are ready for greater support to add more self-care and design your best life so you can step into your genius and gifts, connect with Julie to see if she is the right fit to coach and mentor you. Julie does coaching for entrepreneurs, leaders, and ambitious creatives.
To set up a time to chat further, send an email to email@example.com.
As always, this community is a sacred, safe place built on love and acceptance. It was created to help you evolve and expand into your highest self. Please share your wisdom, comments, and thoughts. I love hearing from you and learning how you are being your truest, you-est you. Please join us in our Facebook group: The You-est You® Podcast Community.
Join host Julie Reisler, author and multi-time TEDx speaker, each week to learn how you can tap into your best self and become your You-est You® to achieve inner peace, happiness, and success at a deeper level! Tune in to hear powerful, inspirational stories and expert insights from entrepreneurs, industry thought leaders, and extraordinary human beings that will help to transform your life. Julie also shares a-ha moments that have shaped her life and career and discusses key concepts from her book Get a PhD in YOU
Here’s to your being your you-est you!
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