You’re sitting in a chair surrounded by other people. All waiting attentively to hear their name called through the intercom. A mixed smell of Lysol and unventilated air fills the room. You’re already experiencing discomfort, and now you have to suffer through this?
We’ve all been there, gotten hurt, fallen sick, or had an emergency which resulted in a visit to the hostpital, clinic or even dentist. Sometimes an accident or virus out of your control brings you there. But what about when you end up waiting for hours because you failed to practice self-care?
Like the time you needed a root canal because you waited too long before seeing the dentist. Or when you didn’t finish all the prescribed antibiotics and fell sick again. And when you injured yourself and thought it would pass only to realize you needed help once it became unbearable.
But why don’t you practice better self-care?
You are a grown up, shouldn’t you be able to take care of yourself by now?
Self-care takes effort, motivation, and willpower at the least. Taking medication, regular visits to the dentist or doctor is not part of your routine.
The need to take medication is not enough to get most people to do so. Non-adherence rates can be up to 50%, which means only half of medication prescribed, is taken.
It’s easy to make excuses:
- I don’t have enough time
- It’s hard, and I don’t have the energy
- It will take care of itself
- I’ll do it later or some other day. Which usually means never or until it becomes so bad I don’t have a choice.
Why is this a struggle suffered by almost half the population?
Is It Because You’re Selfish?
If you’re not able to work at full capacity, it has an impact on more then just yourself. When you’re physically ill, mentally exhausted or emotionally drained it impacts those around you as well.
Let’s say you get hurt or fall sick and miss work, for a few days, what are the consequences?
By missing work you put pressure on your colleagues or boss to pick up the slack. Not only is their productivity affected but they might feel overworked and get hurt or sick as well.
Or your client incurs delays, waiting on work you were supposed to submit. This has an impact on their job, work, and service they provide.
What about the other inadvertent consequences:
1. You waste your time waiting at the doctors, hospital, clinics, etc.
2. You waste their time and resources, for not taking care of yourself.
3. You make friends and family suffer and worry along side you.
4. You develop negative self-talk, which only encourages your neglected behavior in the future.
5. You experience harmful emotions such as shame, guilt, and discomfort.
Not all sicknesses, body aches, and problems can be fixed or prevented.
But when you suffer from an injury, sprain, ache, pain or mental illness and don’t see a doctor, chiropractor, physiotherapist, or psychologist until it becomes unbearable – you only have yourself to blame.
Which doesn’t help, because self-blame only encourages you to keep neglecting your health because of feelings of unworthiness.
That being said, it’s not your fault. I won’t get into all the reasons why you should take care of yourself you know them already. But let’s take a look at the cause of why you don’t take care of yourself.
Are You Worth It?
As a human, you’re bound to make mistakes, think cruel thoughts, fuck up relationships and break promises you make to yourself and others.
These actions directly influence your self-esteem; the thoughts and beliefs you have about yourself. Leading to feelings of unworthiness, or worse self-loathing.
You’re a flawed person, who might not be deserving of self-care. And when you fail to honor a personal promise or take care of yourself it only fuels this self-image.
Why didn’t I try __________ or do __________. (what you should have done)
I had the time and spent it on __________ instead. (what you did instead)
Author and clinical psychologist from Toronto Universty, Jordan Peters describes in his book The 12 Rules of Life, that you should treat yourself like you’d treat your dog (or someone you’re responsible for helping).
Think about your pet or if you don’t own one, imagine you do.
For the most part, do you provide them with love, respect, and kindness? If they got sick, would you bring them to the vet right away or wait for them to tough it out?
Most of you will take immediate action, it’s your pet after all – “they’re part of the family.” But why is it that you don’t treat yourself with the same love, respect, and kindness that you would your pet?
You are also a member of the family, aren’t you?
Jordan attributes feelings of self-worth to your ability to take care of yourself. When you feel like a schmuck, you’re less likely to help yourself. Although when you feel worthy of self-care, you’re more likely to act on it – like you would for your pet.
In conclusion I’d like to paraphrase Tony Robbins;
“You can keep trying to change the outside world, but it’s not until you change what is inside can you really feel happy.”
When I heard this statement, it made so much sense. It’s like fixing the rust on a car when the motor is still broken – what’s the point!
When you realize the external world is outside of your control, you can begin to focus on investing in what you do have control over, which includes your well-being.
Deem yourself worthy, and you’ll find ways to overcome the excuses and start practicing self-care.