Caring for Myself is an Act of Survival

I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self-indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival ~ Audre Lorde

I often wondered why did it feel so natural to be sympathetic and kind to those we care about—yet so hard to treat ourselves in the same fashion? Why did it feel uneasy to say no to a family member or a colleague when I wasn’t up for the task? Perhaps I just didn’t feel like doing anything at that moment.  Don’t I have that option?

We’ve been led to believe we’re selfish if we think about ourselves or if we give we’re going to look good to them.

I decided a few years ago to invoke self-compassion and kindness towards myself. Although, there have been times when I forget and go back to my “old” ways. However, it all started with this two letter word: No.

I tell you, it wasn’t easy at first. I found myself stammering and whispering the word…while the other person had to lean in and ask “excuse me…did you just say no?” After I had declined the first few offers, nicely of course, I noticed it wasn’t that bad…why?

I needed to take care of myself.
I needed to honor myself.

I said no to standards that no longer served me. To people who drained me of my creativity and expression. To ideas that didn’t resonate with who I was.

That’s when I was free to say a truly powerful “Yes” in my life—one that opened the door to opportunities, abundance, love, acceptance, allowing, giving, forgiving and being kinder to myself and everyone else around me. It truly is a liberating feeling.

40 thoughts on “Caring for Myself is an Act of Survival

  1. Go for it, girl! Love that you are taking care of yourself. My spiritual teacher, John-Roger, has often said “Take care of yourself so you can help take care of others.” I do my best to remind myself of this every day … and act on it too. Blessings.

  2. We are only selfish when we do things for our self without consideration that results in hurting others. We have to care for ourselves to be able to care for others.

  3. I’m very interested in economics and science studies so I tend to look at your writings in that way. I agree that we have to be selfish sometimes and focus on ourselves first instead of putting everyone before ourselves. Economic analysis demonstrates that when all individuals vigorously pursues their own self interests first, then markets and economies are more successful. Because by focusing on yourself first, you’re then able to focus on others as well and not vice versa. In economies where people take care of themselves first and then others, everyone is able to do better.

  4. What a powerful form of self-care and self-kindness! I think when we uphold healthy boundaries for ourselves (and using “No” is one way to do that) we really invite others to examine their own beliefs about sovereignty and boundaries. Win-win.

  5. This is a wonderful post. I often feel guilty for doing things for myself instead of others. There are only so many hours in a day and so many dollars in the bank. Though, in the last year I have really learned that I need to take care of myself to take care of others the way they deserve. It isn’t selfish, it is responsible. When I don’t take a few minutes of every day for me, then I tend to have resentment for all the things that I am doing. And even though I don’t mean for it to, that resentment can come out. Found you through the #revofkindness tag. I look forward to reading more!!

  6. No has an undeserved bad reputation. No is not a bad word to be avoided in polite company. I am good at saying no. It is a matter of survival, not a luxury. Saying no makes our yes more valuable and meaningful.

  7. I can totally connect with you. I am the worst at saying no, but it truly does become easier as you do it more. As I was having a hard time the other day, my friend reminded me again that it is selfish but only when you take care of yourself can you take care of others. Lovely post. 🙂

  8. Wonderful post. Saying ‘yes’ is one of the most liberating things we can do for ourselves, sadly many of us find it difficult but so glad you’ve been able to. And without guilt. Have a lovely weekend. xo

  9. Oh boy, can I relate to this 100%, I am going to learn the Word NO so quick, at the momento I feel I should climb a mountain and shout it out as loud as possible. I going to follow your example

  10. Hi Bernice, Thank you for the note. I will be reading, just not writing for now. I enjoy reading and can use the inspiration ♥ Have a good day.

  11. The airlines tell you to put the oxygen mask on yourself first. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t help anyone else.

  12. That is so beautiful. It is unfortunate that we often feel guilty for taking ourselves into consideration. I read a quote a while ago that has stuck with me and often find myself repeating “Choosing me doesn’t mean me first, it means me too”. I’m glad you were able to remind yourself of this and continue dedicating to be kind to yourself 🙂

    1. Thanks. Women are considered the nurturers but forget about ourselves along the way most of the times. Taking care of ourselves is important and sticking to it. 😊

      1. It is! I recently discovered that about myself which was a surprise. I’ve decided to look at it as “maintenance” so that I shift my association with doing things for myself away from my old train of thought aka “selfish”. 😉

  13. Me and a couple friends of mine were just talking about this subject. It seems that when women have to say no, not only do we feel guilty we feel we have to provide an excuse, whereas men don’t do this. Over the past year or so I’ve been intentionally saying no (minus an excuse) and squashing the guilt and as you say here it really is a freeing experience.

      1. Hi William, you could be correct as it’s probably more of a gut reaction to not want to say no. I wish I could remember the woman who said that for men it’s easier (she as on a talk show a while back). I think it also has a lot to do with the specific situation as well.

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