health & wellness, life, Uncategorized, Women's Life Issues

All About The Self: Self Care & Self Compassion

Many of us have recently spent time with extended family during the holidays as did I.

During this break and retreat from the usual pace of life, I had the opportunity to reflect, renew and review. I was reminded of the importance of self care and how many of us can get so caught up in the caring of others that we forget to take care of ourselves.

Over the past few months I have been re-reading Jack Kornfield’s excellent book, ‘A Path With Heart‘ and am intrigued by the section about the paradox of being selfless or having no self and having a healthy and strong ‘sense of self’ and a ‘true self’. Kornfield says There are two parallel tasks in spiritual life. One is to discover selflessness, the other is to develop a healthy sense of self. Both sides of that apparent paradox must be fulfilled for us to awaken. I would say that this can be applied to general life as well as spiritual life and helps to clarify the definition of self-care. Life coaches often talk about self-care and how important it is to put yourself at the top of the list and clients are often very puzzled by this as have often been taught that this act is ‘selfish’.

For clarity, the action of self care through understanding yourself and having a healthy sense of self, allows you to go out into the world in your relationships, duties and obligations from a strong personal foundation and center. The metaphor that is often used is that of being on a plane and ‘the safety talk’, where the flight attendant reinforces that if you are traveling with children, it is important to put your own oxygen mask on first, then help your kids with their mask. The principle is that if you are not being ‘well oxygenated’/well cared for by ‘self’, you can’t care for others well.

So, self-care is about taking care of you! It is about self reflection and self-awareness and enchanting both your inner and outer lives, it is about creating a healthy sense of self.

Self compassion adds another deeper and broader level of caring for self and I’m excited to be writing more about this in the future.


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