When we talk about “self care,” we immediately think of bubble baths, going to a spa or getting a massage; although those are fun things to do, the self care that I’m referring to is the ability to forgive oneself.
I believe self-care prepares us for healthy relationships and promotes balance in our lives. Here are some ways to practice self-care:
Affirm all the good qualities you have. Try writing down five things you really like about yourself each day. They can be physical, mental or social; it doesn’t really matter. The important thing is to remember you are worth taking care of, and have wonderful things about you that sometimes go unrecognized.
Learn new things. Education is also a form of self-care, because we not only expand our range of abilities, but we may discover new gifts and talents. This is something that reinforces our self affirmation and also attracts others to us.
Set priorities. Self-care in terms of searching for love is extremely important. All too often, unmarried people will put their needs secondary to the search for companionship. I believe this happens when we prioritize finding someone and starting a relationship above all else, including professional development or education, family or friends, or leisure time for ourselves.
Take yourself out on a date. One of my past blogs was about how I decided to date myself after a particularly painful breakup. I had a blast, but I also took myself on a spiritual journey that ultimately made me a better girlfriend. This is a perfect way to practice self-care. What could be more self-loving than to take yourself out on a date? I highly recommend anyone—in or out of a relationship—to set aside time to dedicate to this specific type of self-care.
Respect yourself. When we unnecessarily put all others’ needs before our own and don’t allow ourselves or our partners to become fully developed, independent and whole, we sell ourselves and our relationship short. This is not a good way to look for, start or sustain a healthy relationship.
It may seem like a contradiction, but the more you can take care of yourself, the more you allow others to take care of themselves. My own experiences proved it. When I was spending all my time doing things that others could have easily done for themselves, I stopped thinking of myself. Eventually, I felt resentful, and I also felt that others lost respect for me. Ultimately, it doesn’t make us better people.
Realize God’s love for you. In valuing ourselves, our gifts and talents, our own development, and our wholeness, we are showing ourselves and others just how much God loves us. It is also from my experience that the more we recognize ourselves as God’s creation, the more others do too.
My hope is that CatholicMatch members find the time to look after themselves, and perhaps put self-care into perspective: it is not only vital to a fully developed, God-centered life, but it better prepares us for a healthy relationship.