A New Series: Self-Care Myth Busters


In December I completed my 100th interview in my 100 Women Project – my commitment to interview 100 women about self-care.

In order to share what I learned, I am starting what I am calling my Self-Care Myth Busting Series.


Self-Care Myth #1:
Self-Care is Selfish

I heard from A LOT women, all over the country, that self-care is selfish. I was astonished. I had no idea so many women were suffering in this way.

Are you one of them?

The women I talked to didn’t lead with self-care is selfish though. They lead with telling me all the ways they know how they should take care of themselves, they gladly told me of their limited successes and then confessed all the ways they are failing themselves.

When I ask the question – what is the hardest part of self-care? – that’s when the truth comes out.

Self-care is selfish.

Over and over again. I keep hearing that and it makes me sad and if I’m being honest – it pisses me off (not at the women I was talking to! But at this cultural message). More on that in a minute though.

The definition of selfish is “lacking concern for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.”

Here’s the thing, I have yet to meet a woman lacking in concern for others. But I do keep meeting lots of women who completely disregard themselves.

Since when don’t women matter?

With this pervasive belief self-care is selfish – no wonder why there are so few women who want to dive head first into self-care.

I’m here to offer an alternative way of thinking.

First let’s start with the definition of self-care.

This is the definition of self-care I use:


Self care includes any intentional actions you take to care for your physical, mental and emotional health. {Here’s the source of that definition which includes lots of great ideas for self-care}.

The only part I think is missing is the spiritual part of yourself. So when I think of how I am going to take care of myself I include all four of those areas. The details are different for each of us and it’s important that all parts of ourselves are nourished regularly to be truly healthy, happy and sane.

What this definition of self-care doesn’t mention is shirking responsibility for others or disregarding the people you love. It is simply the act or acts that you do to take care of your whole being.

Here’s why I am mad.

So many smart, awesome women are believing something I simply do not find to be true.

Self-care is NOT selfish.

Self-care is taking care of oneself as if you matter. Period. End of story.

I’ll use my own life as an example. In taking care of myself – mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually –  I am not ignoring my family or their needs.

I am simply taking care of my business so no one else has to.  I am responsible for taking care of me.

At the same time, I am teaching my daughter to take care of herself so she isn’t looking for someone else to take care of her and I’m teaching my partner how to take care of himself so I don’t have to.

Which isn’t to say we’re all islands who no longer need one another. That couldn’t be further from the truth. We are interdependent – we rely on each other to help each one of us take care of ourselves.

Everyone in my family matters equally and we all get to get our needs met. While we don’t all need exactly the same things, no one has to sacrifice themselves for the benefit of others.

You don’t have to forget yourself in order to be a great partner, mother, daughter, aunt or friend.

I would love to hear what you think.

I look forward to seeing you soon!




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