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OK ONTO THE POST!
If you’ve spent any time at all on the internet over the last several months, then you know that there is an oversaturated trend of self care.
Everything from face masks to fragrances to fuzzy slippers have been slapped with the label, self care.
And if you’re a female with access to the internet, then “self care” will trigger one word: Goop.
Yes, I’m talking about the uber luxury lifestyle brand of none other than Gwyneth Paltrow herself.
And when I say uber luxury, I mean, the products that she hawks on you will set off your gag reflex, and you’ll throw up in your mouth a little bit. Call me old fashioned but…$125,000 for a set of 18K gold dumbbells? I mean…
This is not to throw shade on Goop, truly. In fact, I applaud Gwyneth for creating such a well-respected lifestyle brand that is both informative and aspirational.
With that said, I did some digging to see what the “Goopy Queen” of wellness, health, and beauty had to say about self care.
And, silk toothbrushes and lady-parts steamers aside, the majority of what I found on Goop fell…well, flat. I learned about an oil that “anchors the spirit back into the body.” I found out about the power of aligning my energies to create positive vibes. And even, why some women swear by “earthing” – or the practice of getting your bare feet in contact with the earth for a period of time per day.
And after plowing through numerous episodes of her podcast, with guests from everyone from Oprah to Julia Roberts to Chrissy Teigen, I finally had to turn off the podcast and walk away.
I felt completely discouraged.
If this is the self care from the top “guru” herself, then we are in a world of hurt, people.
Because let me be crystal clear: self care does not come in a bottle or a jar. True self care is so much more than that.
I’m going to be honest, I consider myself somewhat of an expert in self care. Not because I’ve tried every beauty product on the market, or am well versed in sleep studies. Nope.
I am an expert in self care because it was such an instrumental aspect of my recovery from anorexia.
You see, the concept of self care was so totally foreign to me, when I first began my recovery. And to be clear, it wasn’t called “self care” back then. That is a buzzword that has been born out of influencer marketing in the last year or so, as an effort to push gimmicky beauty products with names that include “Bae” or “Obsession.”
No, self care was genuinely that: caring for myself.
During my anorexia, self care was non-existent, for the sole reason that, not only did I not respect or nourish my body, but I truly hated it. I hated myself.
Most people think that anorexia is just some rich white girl’s diet gone awry, but the weight loss is merely a manifestation of the inner turmoil going on inside. It’s an outer manifestation of the hatred she has for herself. So yes, she is withholding nutrients from her body, but she is also doing a myriad of other behaviors, that all stem from that inner wound. That inner hatred.
For example, I would isolate myself from loved ones, because I felt unworthy of love. I would sleep on the floor, because I felt I didn’t deserve the comfort of a bed. I would only allow myself to buy and wear ratty clothing from Goodwill, because I felt I didn’t deserve to wear nice things. I’d punish myself with exercise; the list goes on and on.
So for me, one of the greatest hurdles for my recovery, was to relearn how to be kind to myself. How to care for my body.
And while, yes, treating myself to a good smelling foot lotion, or taking an extra five minutes in the shower to exfoliate with a special sugar scrub was part of that new adoption of self care, the real work came from the inside, out.
Sitting her, ten years later, healed and whole and living abundantly, I can tell you with firm authority, that you cannot buy true self care on the shelves of CVS. The tools for self care, are in fact, not tangible at all.
Because true self care is all about your soul.
Yes, Gwyneth was onto something, when she was championing oils that get in touch with your spirit, but spoiler alert: no oil can do what we truly need.
Only Jesus can.
My true healing from my anorexia came when I invited Jesus into my heart to clean up the state of my soul. To heal my spirit.
I needed a total-heart-take-over. It took intentional, quality time, seeking the Lord through the Bible. And through worship music. And through prayer. And I’ll be the first to tell you that this was not easy, or comfortable, or frankly something that I necessarily looked forward to all the time.
There was no way to root out the lies I believed in my mind, other than filling it with so much truth that there was no longer any place for it to live.
And I continue that practice to this day. It’s how I stay in recovery. It’s how I keep my mind on Jesus, and grow in relationship with Him.
It’s the secret to my self care: spending quality time with Jesus.
It doesn’t have to be lengthy or super heady. Sometimes I’ll listen to a worship song. Or a podcast. Sometimes it’s just spending time reflecting on the Gospel — which I do every morning on my Oh What a Beautiful Morning! Video Series that I put in my free newsletter.
Because the thing is: when my soul is in the right state, then everything else falls in line. Fears, anxiety, stress, anger, loneliness, doubt, exhaustion — all those things that society’s “self care” routines are trying to “cure” can only truly be alleviated by a heart at peace.
A heart that is in tune with Jesus.
And I can assure you, you won’t find that in the articles of Goop.
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