Self-Care Is Not Selfish: 3 Reasons To Embrace Therapy
Self-care is the practice of tending to one’s daily needs. In therapy, many clients and therapists discuss self-care and explore strategies to prioritize it for one’s mental wellness.
Many people reject self-care, not as a deliberate choice, but at a subconscious level based on low self-esteem, self-worth, or unprocessed trauma. Therapy helps people recognize their internal roadblocks to self-care. If you want to feel empowered and more closely with your values, it might be time to find a therapist who supports you.
By taking care of yourself, you can also take better care of those you love. If you feel like you do not deserve self-care or that “self-care is selfish,” we hope this article offers a fresh perspective.
Self-Care Lesson from Therapy #1 – It’s Okay to Enforce Boundaries
Expressing boundaries is integral for self-care. Establishing a boundary is not the hardest part of this process; enforcing the boundary is. One reason for this is that sometimes, people may make you feel bad for setting a boundary, especially if they are not used to you doing that. They will adjust with time, especially if they are a mutually supportive friend, partner, etc., who values your wellbeing.
Chances are you have seen people express boundaries before. Has a relative ever said something like, “No phones at the table” or “No cursing in the house?” This type of boundary functions like a rule or “social norm” and they are often expressed by someone with authority, such as a parent or guardian. When you tell someone a boundary, you are communicating a rule that is important to you. If the power dynamic in the relationship is not equal, you may be met with resistance.
Maybe you have a friend who you enjoy spending time with, but if you spend too much time with them, you feel completely exhausted. It could be time to establish a “time boundary” with that person. Common questions about setting this type of boundary include, “How do I express a boundary without hurting my friend’s feelings?” or “Why do I feel guilty when I express a boundary?” Therapists offer guidance for questions like this, as the possible answers are worth exploring together.
Take a moment to consider where you could benefit from more boundaries, such as certain friendships, workplace dynamics, and family members.
Self-Care Lesson from Therapy #2 – Prioritize Healthy Relationships
Self-care is not only about the relationship with yourself, but also about the relationships you value around you. Each person has to manage how much time they devote to various relationships, including familial, romantic, platonic, and coworker relationships.
Do you have a friend who you wish you connected with more often? What stops you from initiating more hangouts with them? Some people feel that they do not deserve mutually supportive, platonic friendships. Other times, loving people devote their free time to someone who does not return any love and support.
Increased self-awareness and advanced communication skills help people navigate these more difficult conversations so that they can mend frayed dynamics and prioritize healthy relationships. Setting any type of goal requires accountability. Therapists can provide healing and hold you accountable too. They are there to listen and help you find hope.
Self-Care Lesson from Therapy #3 – You Are Allowed to Seek Joy
Lots of people need reminders that they are allowed to seek joy and feel loved. There are many reasons why different people have a hard time accepting self-love and joy, but a common factor is unprocessed trauma around abuse. Therapists can help survivors of abuse find and prioritize joy again, but it is important to find the right therapist.
When people experience domestic abuse, it can alter their beliefs about what they do and do not deserve. 30% of women and 25% of men experience intimate partner violence during their life; when this happens, it can make survivors anxious, depressed, and more.
If you are a survivor or if you are someone who has a hard time allowing yourself to seek joy, try to avoid blaming yourself and seek professional support from a licensed therapist. Remember that you deserve joy and love.
Therapy Near Me: How to Find a Therapist
Online therapy gives people tools to practice self-care, whether that means setting boundaries, prioritizing healthy relationships, or seeking joy.