Is it just me, or do you cringe at the word selfish? As I prepared for my self care retreat,” Learn to Flourish in Mind, Body and Spirit”, last month in Idyllwild, I was struck by the negative way most women react when they hear that word. Women tend to feel selfish when they take time for themselves. We are culturally trained to put other needs ahead of our own. If we get put on the list, we are often neglected until everyone around us is taken care of (and when does that ever happen?).
Have you considered that the opposite of selfish is selfless? Think about that word – it literally means without a self. How is that a good thing? Why do we associate a positive response if someone tells us we are selfless and a negative response when we take time to care for ourselves?
Caring for yourself can be as simple as five minutes of silence to drink your morning coffee, or walking outside to take a breath of fresh air or you can devote a weekend to focusing on your needs. Not everyone may have the same self care needs, but we all have ways that work to nourish ourselves if we only take the time to listen. Often, it is only when we change our environment that we can give ourselves permission to rest and reflect on what is needed for us to feel our best in our lives and to be able to give to others, in turn.
I was privileged to spend a weekend with nine thoughtful, funny and insightful women last month at the Creekstone Inn in Idyllwild, California. We reserved the entire hotel so we could rest in our private bedrooms with private baths, gather in the great room by the fireplace, inspire ourselves by creating vision boards in the atrium and relax with a glass of wine or a cup of tea on the deck. Oh, yes, we were also able to take a silent walk through the trees at the nature center to reflect on what we had learned.
I was especially grateful for the opportunity to remind myself that self care is necessary for everyone. As always, I left the weekend with more than I brought to it, including memories of the rejuvenating effect of spending time with women.
As Mother’s Day approaches, I hope you get the opportunity to take some time for yourself and give yourself the gift of self care – however it looks to you. And, maybe, one day you will take the leap and join me at a workshop or retreat that is all about you.
You deserve it!