Many of us have an inner self-critic that does not serve us, one that shames us when we do something that is good for our Self, when we practise self-awareness or self-care.
Dispel and release the idea that looking after your Self is selfish. It is healthy to practice self-care and to love one’s Self. Self-care operates in a guilt-free zone.
This feeling of guilt is very often the case for working parents, those caring for elderly parents or the infirm, or professional caregivers. Would it surprise you to know that studies show that “the more time that working mothers spent taking care of themselves, the better were the emotional and physical health of their children” ? (1)
This is true for all caregivers. Simply put, how can we care adequately for others when we are stressed, exhausted or burnt out? When parents and other caregivers look after the Self, we are modelling healthy behaviour that those we care for – children especially – will learn and hopefully adopt.
This is also true not just for one’s home life, but for one’s career. We’ve all seen the individual (maybe in the mirror!) who puts in a 50+ hour week, who never says “no” to extra responsibilities without giving something else up. The outcome? Take your pick: increasing ineffectiveness, exhaustion, broken relationships at home and work, potential loss of respect from colleagues, stress-related illnesses and more. An effective leader manages those individuals sagely, to ensure they remain healthy and continue as effective team members…. And an effective leader ensures that they themselves are providing a model of effective self-care and self-leadership.
So put aside that guilt, release it, take care of your Self and shine… or even better, dazzle!
(1) Source: Stewart Friedman, Harvard Business Review