7 Lies About Self-care People Will Tell You | Tawanna B. Smith

7 Lies About Self-care People Will Tell You

7 lies about self-care failing

Lies about Self-care

The proliferation of self-care content these past few years has wielded a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s brought to the forefront just how much people are struggling.

Yet, it has also created a factor of commercialization which stresses out groups of people who furthermore believe:

a.) self-care isn’t for them

b.) they’re doing it improperly or

c.) they can’t afford it.

Some people feel so pressured by what they read or see that they’re having an aversion to the concept. Recently actor Brooklyn Decker made headlines stating that she believes self-care is B.S.  Decker believes “there’s a lot of value in delayed gratification”, “feeling uncomfortable,”  “sleepless”, feeling unbalanced and being stressed out.

No m’am!

Even if part of her argument is that the discomfort is okay because it’s temporary, there is a problem. Sometimes we don’t know when to shut the behavior down as we become accustomed to it.

Furthermore, we have to explore the mental, physical, and emotional issues we cause when we lean into such discomfort. I believe the problem with Decker and other women her age who think like this is that they’re feeding off an avocado toast version of self-care.

Sweethearts, self-care does not have to be so complicated. Half of what you see is a lie. Beyond the Instagrammable surface, we really should be asking people:

No, but how are you really doing? Peel back the optics a sec and you’ll rather understand that self-care takes deeper work than what’s online.

Nothing’s new

Before it became a trend, some of us have been practicing deep self-care for years. Friend and coach Mia Redrick wrote a book six years ago which provided 365 daily strategies for moms who struggle to fit self-care into their busy lives.

What Redrick wrote and what I coach clients on isn’t as sexy as most of what you see in the market. Here are 7 lies about self-care that surface dwellers will tell you:

  1. It costs
  2. It is selfish
  3. You don’t deserve it
  4. It’s only available to people with disposable income
  5. It only looks like yoga retreats
  6. It’s a guilty pleasure
  7. It’s primarily about massages, facials and bubble baths

Here’s the truth: self-care looks different for all of us. There is no singularity to it. What nurtures one person can be a hindrance to someone else.

The content you read or see in regards to self-care should be taken at face value. Consider them as suggestions versus “The Way.”

What is self-care?

From a medical perspective within healthcare, self-care is defined as “any necessary human regulatory function which is under individual control, deliberate and self-initiated.” More broadly and philosophically speaking, it is defined as the act of nurturing oneself mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

Modern uses of the term

From a socio-cultural perspective, the term was popularized by Audre Lorde in 1988. She proclaimed that “caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, that is an act of political warfare.”

Today society has perverted the term. As authors Kathleen Chen and Annie Truuvert observe in their criticism of the capitalism of the self-care movement, “the business of self-care is an extension of the very systems of oppression that Lorde urged us to rebel against.”

7 lies about self-care

Now don’t get me wrong, I use all sorts of modalities to practice my self-care. However, I am VERY clear that some of them are tools to relax me or open the gateways.

Those tools don’t cure or get to the root of why I need to create a strong and consistent self-care practice in the first place.

My favorite candle isn’t going to fix resentment issues I have in my marriage. That glass of wine won’t wash away my caregiver fatigue. And no amount of bath bomb-scented bubble water is going to drown the fibroids residing in my uterus nor the daily social political attacks waged on my people which often times seems like a call for Civil War.

Thankfully, I see through the lies about self-care because I know what taking care of myself holistically looks like. If I didn’t, with the disruptions I have in my life I’d be a piece of work.

Self-care at its’ core

Self-care at its essence is an internal process that above all is:

  1. free
  2. deserving of all
  3. multi-dimensional
  4. self-preserving
  5. available to all
  6. a vital part of our overall health care
  7. mental, spiritual, physical and emotional

Self-care for sale

7 lies about self care for sale

The commercialism you’ve witnessed in the self-care movement these past few years is a symptom of:

  • the deep scarring present in our society, thanks partially to the rise of intolerance and bad political behavior
  • a backlash to our technological vices
  • a departure from core life values

Where people are going wrong in their approach to self-care

7 lies about self-care toolkit

As hard as it may be in our capitalist society, it is important to keep that commercialization in a box. Its’ contents are just tools, sometimes mere Band-Aids.

They do not represent the deep work which needs to be done in the repair shop.

If you believe the lies about self-care then you risk believing that the practice is for a specific gender or class. The simple truth is, like healthcare you use the doctors, tools, and medicine that you need. And quite frankly, it’s more vital for “the least of these”, those of us marginalized daily by society.

Consequently, self-care is in fact for all of us.

Learn more about how authentic self-care can support you in your life and business through one of my self-care programs:

Self-care success suite

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