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Self-care: selfish or intelligent?

‘Some people have resistance to the whole idea of taking time for themselves. The Puritan ethic has left a legacy of guilt when we do something for ourselves. Some people discover that they have a little voice inside that tells them that it is selfish or that they are undeserving of this kind of time and energy. Usually they recognize it as a message they were given very early on in their lives: “Live for others, not for yourself” “Help others, don’t dwell on yourself.”

If you do feel undeserving of taking time for yourself, why not look at that part as your mindfulness practice? Where do such feelings come from? What are the thoughts behind them? Can you observe them with acceptance? Are they accurate?

Even the degree to which you can really be of help to others, if that’ s what you believe is important, depends directly on how balanced you are yourself. Taking time to “tune” your own instrument and restore your energy reserves can hardly be considered selfish. Intelligent would be a more apt description.’

– From Jon Kabat-Zinn (1990, 2005) Full Catastrophe Living. Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness, Delta Book, New York, pp. 43-44.

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Mindfulnext by Alessandra Pigni is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.