Reflection. It is the edge of a pool that I don’t want to dive into. I don’t know what’s under the surface. It may take minutes, hours, months, even years. Eventually I dive into myself. Reflection can be a scary yet necessary part of self-care. Understanding your trauma is essential to recovery.
What bothers me the most about the self-care “narrative” that has become popular is the idea that self-care is buying yourself things to feel better. Expensive lotions to better your skin. A spa day that may or may not break the bank. Dropping $50 on green tea. While it is important to remember to include yourself in your budget, it is not the only way take care of yourself. Self-care is not inherently capitalistic, in fact I’d argue the opposite. A lot of self-care revolves around the idea that you have to take care of yourself by internally finding problems and solutions to ease those issues, whether it’s with the support of other people or not. Self-care is work that you can’t pay off with materialistic goods. You can’t bath bomb your problems away.
Recovery and overcoming obstacles vary from person to person. Recovery is also not linear. In the name of progress, sometimes people will relapse or take a couple steps back. I strongly believe that reflection is one of the first steps that one must take when tackling anything.
I’m not going to minimize the fact that reflection can be difficult and scary. I still have issues reflecting on my past and the problems that have come up which may or may not have been because of my actions. But I recognize that reflection is essential. Not only that, but reflection is a powerful healing tool. It is only when I reflect on the past that I can find ways to direct how my life is going and change my goals in order to become the person I want to be.
So treat yourself when you can, but also recognize that the totality of self-care encompasses other aspects of mental health. Reaching your self-care goals may take time and effort but so does anything good. Your journey may start with reflection but the rest can be decided by you. Your healing process is up to you, not your bank account.