Author: Seth Connelly
Editor: Alexa Bonsey
Self care is not something a lot of men talk about.
Hard to believe, right?
As a male, born in the US, I have been socialized to believe that I am tough, don’t cry, never need help or support, and cannot be weak. Because of these ideas, the concept of self care can feel pretty foreign. While we all have to navigate the challenges of toxic aspects of male culture, I am lucky to have close friends, family, and colleagues who gently nudge (or passionately push me) in my own journey of self care.
Hard truth: self care does not come easy for me.
It’s something I struggle with. In the exercise of writing this post, I am faced with the ways I don’t (and do) practice self care. Sometimes I’m just really bad at it. Or won’t do it. Or do the opposite. I think that’s good spot to be, though.
It’s important to actively practice enough self awareness to seek out self care. To love yourself enough to do the intentional work of putting yourself first. I’m not sure what’s on the other side of this life, so I am operating as if I only get one life.
Self care as a buzzword can make me cringe sometimes — the idea that taking a bath or buying something nice for yourself is a magic cure all for our woes. That going for a run is going to elevate my mood and make me instantly happier (although this is actually true for me).
Sometimes I scoff at the elementary notion that something so simple would make a difference in my well being. I mean come on, the crushing weight of humanity certainly isn’t going to change by me practicing #selfcare. Well. . . maybe not the crushing weight of humanity. Yet there is some widely held truth in here.
Taking care of yourself (i.e. self love) really might be a positive force against that heavy feeling and the weight of humanity.
Self care is self love. What a wild notion for me to write? To think? To believe? To practice? This is certainly on the outer edges of my comfort zone and programming.
Nevertheless, here I am: actively doing the work of falling in love and maintaining a healthy relationship with self. Will this solve all the world’s problems? Won’t people think I’m self absorbed? Maybe; maybe not. It doesn’t really matter.
For me, loving myself is as radical an act as I may offer this world.
When I develop my practice of self awareness, self love, and overall self care I see ripple effects and impacts in all aspects of life. When I speak kindly to myself and live rooted in my values, I infinitely offer more to the world. When I read a book, go for a run or even take five minutes to meditate I see the world differently.
I am happier. I smile more.
I give a few bucks to the person on the street instead of ignoring them. I carry on long, uninterrupted conversations with my son. I am far more empathetic and mindful. I call my mom. I give 110% at work. I drink more water. I go to counseling.
What’s the impact? I couldn’t accurately tell you in any concise way. I’ll just say it’s massive!
When we love ourselves, we practice self care. Not because it’s #trending. A path and practice that is true for yourself. An authentic expression of love. Which feels like a key to a happy, fulfilling life.
This one life.
I hope that you find yourself deep in the pursuit and practice of self care and self love.