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Self Care Is Not Selfish!

Do you struggle with balancing other things (food, time, resources, other people’s needs) with meeting your own needs? Do you feel like if you take care of all of them first, then you can go and take care of yourself? Or maybe they will take care of you?

And then there is never enough time or help to take care of you?

And if you do take care of yourself, do you feel guilty? Or do others object to your selfcare?

When food is your issue, family and friends may not really understand how difficult this is. You may have tried a hundred diets and your weight may have gone up and down and they feel confused and maybe a bit frustrated with your food changes.

And life sometimes upsets our plans and we need to do or not do what meets our needs, even though we hate doing it and others may not like it.

And sometimes, looking out for my own needs feels like a radical concept. It means I may have to draw a boundary, inconvenience someone, Or just give a very long sentence. “No.” For me, that is the hardest sentence to say, sometimes, and the most important.

Looking out for my own needs is a radical concept for me and for many of us. It can be so scary. We can create enormous huge death-defying pitfalls, in our imaginations, if we decline this request or that one.

Think about this: Is it your own secret fear that if you consider your own needs, and put them first, you will alienate the people you love, and wind up homeless unloved and lonely? Will your husband and children desert you if you take a nap rather than cleaning up the problems in a cousin’s life?

We have been taught that good people take care of others first. We should wait till everyone’s plate is full and then make do with the leftovers. Most of us make decisions based on who we think we SHOULD be, rather that who we really are, and we give more than we have and accept too little in return. And we wind up empty and exhausted. That’s where food comes in.

If you do not plan for and take care of your own needs, you are likely to fill your emotional hunger with food. Or try to.

You eat in secret. You need lots of “drug foods”. Or treat foods, because food is the only way you allow yourself to nourish yourself. And you eat the donut or éclair or cake at three pm, ravenously, instead of lunch at noon. Then you feel guilty.

To really take care of yourself, you need to think of yourself first and meet your own needs first. Then you will have more strength and power to do whatever really needs to be done in your life. If your “pitcher” is empty, it will be hard to take care of another. If you are not grounded, present, calm, and able to breathe, you will not be able to take care of those you love. When you pour yourself out taking care of others, you will be spent and exhausted, and unable to care for yourself or others, especially those you love.

What would your life look like if you set aside some time every day to fill yourself up, to take care of your own emotional needs? Call it soul time – to go outside, to lie down, to read a novel? Would it make it easier to do what is needed? Take five minutes to sit down and breathe. Just breathe.

You cannot serve others well if you exhaust yourself. If you leave YOUR needs out of the equation, your relationships will surely suffer.

Cherishing yourself by making yourself a priority in your own life is possible, essential, and effective for your becoming the person you want to be.

Choosing to spend time with people who “get you” , are happy to be with you and support you, makes your need for inappropriate food easier to manage. Create your life so that, most of the time, you are around people whose values, mission, and purpose align with the real you. And you can relax and learn to enjoy your life.

Blessings to you,

Theresa

p.s. – I will soon be announcing two programs!  Please be on the lookout for them.

4 Responses to Self Care Is Not Selfish!

  1. Sherri January 19, 2021 at 2:18 pm #

    Terrific post–and something that is so hard for most compulsive eaters. I really related to this one. Thank you so much!

    • H. Theresa Wright January 20, 2021 at 12:35 am #

      You are welcome! Glad to hear from you!

  2. Cari Heumann January 21, 2021 at 7:47 pm #

    Thank you for this reminder, Theresa. It is so important. As a codependent food addict, I must be mindful and make a conscious effort each day to do the things that will help me to continue to become the woman I want to become!

    • H. Theresa Wright January 21, 2021 at 7:54 pm #

      Yes Cari; Life is a process of growth and change. May you continue becoming that woman~!

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