For me, the line between self-love and self care has always been clear.
In the time of Instagram I believe these two notions get somewhat muddled. The hashtags run into each other and the lines between the two topics are blurred. Maybe for neuro typical is and able-bodied people self-love and self-care are one in the same, but for me and my wife, the line between the two is very clear.
Both topics are equally important and require the same amount of attention. If either one slips, that can severely affect my overall well-being.
To put it simply I view self-care as a kind of maintenance. It’s like getting a service on your car. For me, self-care is insuring my overall health is at the forefront of what I’m doing. That could be drinking enough water, taking my medication, attending therapy, eating well, and insuring I have an outlet for whatever needs to be let out. Self-care is my manual, the specific things I need to keep me, Hev, in working order.
If self-care is my manual then self love is my song book. It’s filling pages with words and sounds all about me. It’s self-indulgent and it’s wonderful and it’s imperative to my health. It’s taking a three hour bath, it’s watching my favourite horror film for the millionth time, it’s calling up my best friend just to talk complete shit. It’s looking in the mirror and knowing that even if today I don’t like every single thing I see I know that I am still a beautiful and worthy and valid human being.
It’s wrapping my arms tightly around myself and saying that everything will be okay because you deserve for everything to be okay.
These two subjects are extremely personal to each and every one of us and this message often gets hidden within the hashtags of thousands of influencer posts across this platform who use the movement to boost images of lush bath bombs and gifted face masks. This might be self-care or self love for them, but it’s imperative that you know that this isn’t always what these topics are about.
There is no right or wrong way to do either of these things, because in the end it’s all about Y O U.
To show how personal this topic is, here is the same post written by the lovely blogger Shrina Mayur
Self love vs Self Care
This is something I have trouble (to this day) trying to understand. I remember so many people telling me that I needed to love myself more but whenever I asked them what that meant I was met with a deafening silence. Does anyone know what self love or self care is?!
To me the word “self love” is loaded with a mental & emotional connotation whereas “self-care” feels more like something you’d suggest to someone to help with a physical ailment. But aren’t they really one of the same?
More and more research is coming out to show that by treating the body holistically the likelihood of recovery is quicker and more permanent. Consequently, it could be argued that separating out the “care” could be counterproductive.
I know that when I’m feeling in physical pain (which those of you who know me, is a lot) I am almost religious about my self care. I take my pain meds, I eat as well as I can and I get plenty of sleep. However for a long time when I get felt mentally and emotionally drained or in pain; I wouldn’t even know where to begin. I separated the two issues as best as I could because I had no idea how to love myself but I knew how to care for myself.
It was only after yet another breakdown did I start to understand the meaning of self love. I was on an (unasked for) journey of self discovery and it was only through doing things that served against me did I realise what it was that I needed to do to love myself. It took years and I feel it is a constant journey but I feel I am starting to understand what I need to become my own advocate for self love.
The hard part for me now is to merge the two and remember that they are one of the same.
Shrina can be found on: