Wikipedia says self-care refers to “the care and cultivation of the self in a comprehensive sense, focusing in particular on the soul and knowledge of the self.”
Knowledge of the self is a tall order. It’s hard. Cultivation of the self, even more so. As a result, self-care has become a shorthand for making comfort based decisions. For staying the same. For avoiding a stretch.
Have you ever heard someone say, “I’ve decided that I’m not going to put more on myself,” or, “I’m not going to put myself through that”? On its face, this seems smart. It seems like this person is practicing self-care. He is saying no. He is avoiding activities that create anxiety and stress.
But there’s another way. What if that thing that caused him stress just didn’t? What if he grew? What if he could learn to rise above and handle it?
Self-care does not involve avoiding things that cause anxiety or discomfort. Self-care means leaning in, little by little, so you cultivate but don’t break.