self care

Being bad at self-care is better than being great at coping mechanisms

How many sleepless nights solved your problems? How many stress eating binges made people finally approve and accept you? How many crises have you agonized over and survived that you now can barely remember?

These thoughts creep into everyone’s mind and it’s normal that you feel this way sometimes. But we can choose if we let these thoughts life in our head rent free. There are tools we can use to clear out our mind for healthier thoughts, and inexperience is no excuse not to give them a shot. Awkward attempts at self care are better than holding onto pain because it’s familiar. I don’t need you to be a serene, flawless yogi. I need you to decide that taking care of yourself is worth attempting even if you don’t know how just yet.

It’s okay. Everyone starts out a beginner at being a friend to themself, and you’ve never done this before. I just want you to try a few things that can recharge yourself. Maybe a self guided meditation on YouTube, maybe taking a short walk outside, maybe calling a friend and venting for a bit. I don’t care what you choose, but I want you to choose something instead of bottling all of this up and holding the pain inside. And I want you to do a little bit each day.

I don’t need you to be perfect. I don’t need you to turn all of these fears around overnight. I just want you to take a small step every day. I want you to choose being a friend to yourself each day. I want one penny in the piggy bank each day that says “I am saving up for a happy someday, and I made a decision to enjoy today a little more.”

People care about you. People want the best for you. They have no idea how much you’re suffering on the inside. Please do this for me, even though you haven’t done it for you. I know you’ve been fighting this battle inside all alone for so long. Maybe you think everyone else’s life is going smoothly, and you’re the only one struggling so you hide your pain. I just want to shake you until you see how the rest of the world sees you. I want to squeeze you and show you that you’re the only jury member voting for your execution.

Life is so incredibly short. All we have is today, and I need you to find a way to enjoy it instead of crucifying yourself. All of those people you envision judging you are lost in their own problems. All of the fears that terrorized you a month ago are forgotten now. Those days passed in 24 hours just like today will, and then it’s gone. What are you going to fill today with? You have the choice. My dear friend I am not attacking you. I am not telling you that you’re doing something wrong. I’m begging someone I care about to stop whipping themselves in the basement because it’s a beautiful day outside and I haven’t seen them smile in a long time.

I want you to have a good life. I want you to solve the problems you can. But let’s distance ourselves from the rest. Please write down the things that are weighing so heavily on you. Put them on paper. And next to each one write down the progress you can reasonably do before midnight tonight. If it’s a massive project then only 1 days’ of tasks is what matters right now. If the fear is losing someone we care about then spending a few hours with them today is what matters. If the fear is something completely outside of our control, then we owe it to ourselves to stop imagining future tragedy and choose instead to enjoy today.

I’m just begging you to hang up your hat after you’ve done all you can do. I’m requesting that you stop trying to be perfect and decide to be content. Life is not about getting everything done. We will never get everything done, that’s okay. There will always be more tomorrow. Don’t look at each day as “complete success vs complete failure.” More accurate is “partial success and misery or partial success and serenity.”

I care about you too much to let you repeat this broken record. The world is not going to end. I just need you to take care of you, because you matter more to others than you could ever know.


Further reading: If this resonated with you then I highly recommend “How to stop worrying and start living” by Dale Carenegie. This is a well researched book with a lot of great advice on how to get more out of life and not lose sleep to things we can’t control. You’re important to a lot of people. Life is short. All I’m asking is that you enjoy the parts of it that you can, and there’s a lot of joy and meaning all around you once you start to look for it.


One comment on “Being bad at self-care is better than being great at coping mechanisms”
  1. chocolatesandfeelings says:

    Thanks Mathew!

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