Beyond The Bubble Baths & At Home Facials
Self-care is big business and I have personally contributed to that business. I enjoy bubble baths filled with oils & powders that color the water so dark you can’t even see through it. I’ve tried every single mask known to man — charcoal, cucumber, seaweed and even some whose names I couldn’t pronounce (or contents I couldn’t clearly identify).
The self-care industry is now a $450 billion dollar market (source). In August 2018, Barnes and Noble saw a 25% increase in the sales of books about anxiety. According to the Wall Street Journal “today’s 20- and 30-somethings turn to therapy sooner and with fewer reservations than young people did in previous eras.” I guess I am not the only one who feels a deep need to be better to and for myself.
The thing about #selfcaresunday and the approach that in order to practice self care you need to spend money or somehow get or do something that is external to self- is that those are temporary fixes. Transformational… dare I say radical self-care is about accountability, long-term change and deep internal introspection.
I can remember waking up and being extremely unsatisfied with the state of my life. It looked beautiful from the outside. I had the newest iPhone, I took my annual trips, and materialistically I had pretty much everything I could ever want. The truth was my blood pressure had been increasing due to a high level of stress and I was suffering from terrible self-confidence and self-esteem because I had placed my self-worth and value in the hands of someone else. Rather than confronting the truth of feeling disconnected and disrespected, I covered up my life with more work, buried my despair with delusions and covered my insecurity with a new piece of clothing (AND it was 40% off?!)
It wasn’t until I started asking myself the tough questions:
(1) What role did I play in creating this situation?
(2) If given the opportunity, would I make the same choice(s)?
(3) What specifically is causing me pain, discomfort, stress?
(4) How do I want my life to be different and what can I do now to make it so?
The answers to those questions were difficult. It would require more out of me than I’d ever required of myself. I had to come to terms with the reality that not only could I not control others, trying to cajole, beg, convince, guilt, etc. others into doing what I thought was best for me was a recipe for disaster .In addition to the truth that the answers surfaced — it also surfaced shame, fear, disappointment and paranoia. Radical self-care sometimes requires us to get dirty… to dig into the depths of our lives and our souls — to go places we don’t regularly venture and certainly to visit places that we close and shutter off from others.
True self care is giving ourselves what we need… not always what we want. It is forcing ourselves to crawl out of our comfort zones. It is reminding ourselves of the agency we have over our lives and of our destiny. It is facing the reality of how we literally sometimes take the things that are most valuable — our love, our hope, our time, our desires and hand them over to someone else in hopes that they will give us something that only we can give to ourselves.
Now don’t get me wrong… you might see me in the spa getting a much needed massage. I have personally witnessed (and would even testify in court) to the powerful endorphins that are released when I indulge in a little retail therapy. While those self-care practices feel good they are self-care sparks that still leave you with the real life that you have and your authentic self. You will also see me regularly indulging in radical self-care — the kind that reinforces the boundaries I’ve set for myself and others… the kind that makes me say “no” to situations and people that don’t have my best interests at heart… the kind that makes me lean into fear and discomfort to find peace, expansion and a better quality of life — long term on the other side.