Do you get some level of guilt when you do something nice for yourself like, say, buying a nice outfit, treating yourself to lunch or taking a weekend getaway for yourself? Do you feel bad that you did not get anything for your significant other or for the children? Do you feel like you were being selfish. No, you are not being selfish. It is called self-care and this, my ladies, should be normalized.
Being a woman is tough enough – the societal pressures, what our families expect from us as well as what our friends want us to be. Now if the above were not enough, there is our own internal pressures that we put on ourselves, breaking our backs and bending backwards to succeed not only for us but also for our families.
And we do all these with a straight face clothed with a radiating smile. Not once do we complain that there is too much on our plate to handle. Many at times I have bitten more than I could chew but then I kept my mouth shut and slowly dealt with whatever I was facing.
Women hide their smiles behind words like “I am okay” and “It’s all cool” but in most cases, they are losing their grip. At the end of the day, they break down in the bedrooms or even on bathroom floors because they are exhausted. They then wipe their eyes dry, ready to face yet another dreadful day.
Women have become accustomed to pain that they know no better. Pain has become their “happy place” so when they go a day without a curve ball being thrown their way, it feels foreign and unfamiliar.
Things need to change
This calls for a total overhaul – a makeover from the inside out. We, as women, take care of everyone else except ourselves and in most cases, we burn out. That is the reason why we must learn to exercise and normalize self-care.
The first time I did something really nice for myself, I could not deal with the overwhelming guilt that I felt afterwards. In the following weeks, I beat myself to the ground. I even suffered burnout because I overworked and denied myself a lot in order to regain what I had “presumably” lost in that one time I treated myself to a designer handbag.
I could not even enjoy carrying the bag because I regretted purchasing it. I started equating it to how it could have paid my rent or I would have put it in my savings.
When I was done beating myself to a pulp, I gave myself reasons to justify the purchase. I would think of all the sacrifices I had made, the early mornings and the late nights, the long hours of studying, the days I had to walk instead of taking a matatu – all that. The purchase would be justified for a bit but then again, the guilt kicked in after a while.
That is when I realized I had to normalize self-love. I did not need to have moved mountains to reward myself and the rewards did not have to be monetary or materialistic.
Shift in mindset
If a lot of convincing from myself, I rewired my way of thinking. I came to the understanding that self-love should be routine in my life and that once in a while, I should say thank you to myself. Truth is, I am a bomb ass mother, an amazing stepmother, a grateful wife, a diligent business woman, a dependable friend among other things and I deserves all the good things and more from life.
I also understood that my love for my family and passion for my work was at times jeopardized because I was giving from an empty cup. I had to fill it with love first before I could redistribute the same.
Sooner, self-love came more naturally and a treat to the spa would not have me raking my brain. I also made it a regular habit so that my system would not forget how to love myself. Now, it I took a trip to Bali, I would be fine with it because I have made self-love a part of my life.
You set the benchmark for how you should be loved
You can only be loved by other people just as much as you love yourself. You give them the template for how to love and treat you. Why would someone else love you more than you love yourself? Why would you talk down upon yourself and expect to be loved? Why would you always be neglecting your mental and physical health and expect someone else to take care of it?
Self-love and self-care could be as simple as ditching the dera and the promotional t-shirts we go to bed in and buying yourself a nice lingerie.
Normalize self-love and self-care. It is the only way to live a truly fulfilling life. Let us normalize putting ourselves first; our needs first, our values first and most of all, our happiness first. Let the rest comes second.
Our image transformation class teaches women to love themselves and transform their images from the inside out. Check it out today and kick-start your self-love and self-care journey.