Sunday, May 11, 2008

The Value of Self Care

Happy Mother's Day! It's 4:30 in the afternoon and I'm still in my pajamas so you all know I'm having a great day.

Today I'm taking it easy, something I should do more often. Usually I go and go, and go some more, always trying to make the most of every moment, never "wasting" time, thinking ahead, and planning. Then I collapse, and rest, and start the cycle all over again. It is far too easy to put off the necessary rests, the self care, until "maƱana." It usually appears that there are too many things to do in too little time.

There is a wonderful word in Spanish that I have a hard time translating. The word is "consentir", which is usually is translated as "to spoil." This word has a more negative than positive nuance, it's thought of as something to avoid doing, as in "What a spoiled brat!" Another translation could be "to take special care of", but the fact that this idea takes so many words to express shows it is a concept of low value in our society. You seldom hear someone say, "She is so well taken care of!"

Extreme self care is considered idleness, or wasteful. Getting a good night's sleep is for wimps. The following exchange expresses it well. I heard it on the movie A Good Woman, based on a play by Oscar Wilde, Mrs. Windemere's Fan.

Gentleman #1: They've gone from barbarism to decadence without bothering to build a civilization in between.

Gentleman #2: Well, that's American efficiency for you.

Well, I haven't come up with a word yet for "taking extremely good care of one self," but I'm working on it. People who don't take care of themselves are cranky, snappy, biting off your head for nothing, unimaginative, and unproductive. And expecting someone else to take care of you great for children, but I haven't seen it work out well among grown-ups.

So, don't put it off, schedule it in: extreme self care. If you don't value yourself, how can you value others?