New Year’s Resolutions According to the Self-Love and Self-Care Playbook
In 2018, thinking about me, myself and I doesn’t make you selfish
The idea is simple: Give yourself a little love and attention once in a while. Strike that. Do it for a change. It’s one of those answers that stare people right in the face but are overlooked instead. Familiar yet foreign, we glaze over self-love and self-care because we are somewhat programmed to put other people first.
At an early age, we are told by children’s books that sharing is caring. It’s how we keep the peace in the playgrounds and classrooms. Later on, we get further confirmation that generosity is the ticket to a good life. We live by mantras like “the quality of your life is determined by the quality of your relationships.” These wise words by Harvey Mackay ring true for many reasons anyway: Being generous makes you happy. Generosity, then, doesn’t only make you feel good, but is good for you.
At the receiving end of all this generosity are often other people. They’re the friends, family, girlfriends, boyfriends and the colleagues we decide to invest in; we weigh our happiness against these intangible investments and inadvertently course our self-worth through them. When left unchecked, when we are unable to hit the brakes whether faced with subtle, seemingly harmless forms of compromise or the flat-out shameless generosity on the brink of martyrdom, we chip away at our self-worth. But it all “hurts so good” doesn’t it? To put a pin in your wants and needs to be of service to someone else?
Photos: Sony Pictures Entertainment
For those provoked by the movie stills, here's the complete passage from Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love : “But I disappear into the person I love. I am the permeable membrane. If I love you, you can have everything. You can have my time, my devotion, my ass, my money, my family, my dog, my dog’s money, my dog’s time—everything. If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain, I will assume for you all your debts (in every definition of the word), I will protect you from your own insecurity, I will project upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and I will buy Christmas presents for your entire family. I will give you the sun and the rain, and if they are not available, I will give you a sun check and a rain check. I will give you all this and more, until I get so exhausted and depleted that the only way I can recover my energy is by becoming infatuated with someone else.”
That last bit may not hold true for a lot of people, but perhaps in some way, shape or form, we relate to this kind of devotion and generosity. We differ only in the degree with which we commit to it.
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Well, it's time to recommit. It's time to recalibrate life and make yourself part of the equation again. And there's no reason to keep this new set of resolutions a secret. There is no shame in admitting you want to work on yourself for a change. Self-love/self-care is a movement that doesn’t translate into: “I’m the only priority", but merely says: “hey, I’m my top priority, too.”
Your wellbeing, hopes and dreams are top priority. Put them first (it’s okay to do so). It’s also okay to put your foot down (saying no once in a while is healthy). While we’re at it, put your health first. And treat yourself because you work hard. Be not ashamed to indulge in a little vanity, but steer clear of narcissism always. Be self-sufficient but not self-serving, self-aware but not self-important. Lastly, work on yourself by yourself for yourself.