Equating self-care with entertainment or temporary fixes makes light of women’s real needs.
Please understand, I’m not belittling spa days and chocolate. I love them too.
I’m saying that we need a clear concept of self-care for women.
We need to understand our real needs. We need to know that chocolate, while delicious and fun to eat, does not in any way meet our needs. Spa days can be one small component of a fulfilling life, sure. But the fact that when people think of women’s self-care, it tends to be manicures and fluffy robes that come to mind, is a problem.
Because it obscures the fact that women’s real needs are very frequently not being met. And why is that?
Of course you should have enjoyment and relaxation in your life. I’m saying that self-care is so far beyond that.
So when we see things like treating yourself to chocolate or taking a relaxing spa day in articles and blog posts that are claiming to be about women’s self-care, it’s frankly insulting.
It’s a tool of abusers to tell you that your needs are selfish and unnecessary, that they can be ignored endlessly because someone else’s needs are more important. So why are women’s genuine needs for health and growth being categorized — socially and even in our own minds — along with candy and pedicures?
Who does that benefit?
And how is that grown women don’t know what their needs are?
How is that women are often being told “try to pick one or two things you can do to love yourself today”?
Apologies to any men reading this, because men do sometimes struggle with self-care. But when was the last time you saw an article or a blog post aimed at men giving that kind of advice?
I mean, one or two things?
Sweetheart, self-care means loving yourself every second of every day. It’s understanding that your needs and growth are just as important as those of everyone else in your world. Always.
It’s knowing that chocolate can be a bribe, and a spa day is a pittance compared to the life you deserve.
If that threatens some kind of familial or societal balance, then yeah, there’s a problem.
I know life is hard, and for almost everyone in the world, there’s not enough time, money, or energy. I know you can’t get everything done that needs to be done. I know that very often this means women’s needs get put last.
That’s exactly why I’m saying: we each need to have a real, clear concept of our true needs.
So that at least we’ll know it when they aren’t being met. We’ll know when we’re being asked — or expecting ourselves — to violate or neglect our own basic needs in order to care for others. We’ll know what’s happening, and be able to choose that with knowledge of exactly what we’re doing and the cost of it — or be able to say no, knowing that we have every right.
Again: nothing against chocolate or girls days out. I get that nail care is part of good grooming.
I’m saying, to call things like that self-care is condescending and plays into misogyny.
Let’s take our needs — and the fact that they’re often not getting met — seriously.