Self-Love is Self-Care…Not Self-Indulgence

While Valentine’s Day has made February the month of romance, the folks here at White Space Wellness have always preferred framing that romance in the context of self-love. As the Irish writer Oscar Wilde once put it: “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance”—a declaration that gains new meaning when we reflect on the fact that the only person we’re assured of living with for the rest of our life is our self.

Of course, in an era when hashtags like #TreatYourself and #YOLO are all the rage, it’s easy to assume that we’ve got the business of self-care down pat. But as a twenty-something Canadian lawyer I befriended during a meditation retreat once confessed: “Millennials like me totally get the importance of self-care. But I don’t think we really understand what it means.”

And it’s true: We look at people’s social media feeds and what gets captioned as self-care is a stream of binges, parties, extravagances and treats that obviously look—and probably feel—pleasurable, but likely don’t do anything to actually nourish body, mind and soul.

That authentic nourishment is how we draw the line between genuine care and counterproductive indulgence. Personal development expert Kate Siner puts it quite well:

Sometimes what we call self-care is actually self-indulgence, sabotage, or avoidance. Self-care is an activity that strengthens, nourishes, or develops who we are at our core. It supports us in the full expression of our essence. Self-indulgence is something that feels really good but does not have additional benefits beyond feeling good. It is an activity that gives us momentary pleasure but does not move us in the direction of our full expression.

It does not so much matter what it is that we are doing as much as the effect that it is having on us. One person’s self-care might be another person’s self-indulgence. A self-care act one day might turn into self-indulgence if used too often.

Dr. Kate Siner

To support our students in making this key distinction, we’re featuring a whole host of self-care tips on our Instagram account this month of February! We invite you to reflect on these, share them with your friends—and even contribute tips of your own!

May the journey of romancing yourself be a sweet and delightful one!


P.S. If you’re interested in self-care strategies for success, just click here!

Photo courtesy of Estée Janssens.

About White Space Wellness

White Space Wellness empowers individuals in elevating their quality and experience of life and in becoming their highest expressions through yoga, mindfulness and nutrition.

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