Every single day you face new choices and decisions. In these uncertain times, when tomorrow is more unknown than ever before, the line between self-care and selfishness is particularly blurry.
We are in the middle of a pandemic. On top of that, we are seeing necessary social upheaval in the face of longtime systemic racism.
Want more? There are truly bizarre politics being practiced, and there are ongoing struggles for equality for marginalized groups — whether they are black, immigrant, female, LGBTQA, or what-have-you.
Everywhere you turn the struggle is real. Whether it’s against big business, ludicrous government, police brutality, white privilege, or whatever — change is afoot.
We have reached a point where passivity is no longer acceptable. This is no longer about the haves and the have-nots — it really has come down to the kind and the unkind — or — the empathetic and the unfeeling — or — the caring and despising.
Care about other people? Then you wear a mask in public to protect others, recognize that Black Lives Matter is about exposing and ending systemic racism — and treat people how you would desire to be treated.
That’s really what this all comes down to. Look at how unkind, unempathetic, and generally divisive Trump, McConnell, and most of the Republican leadership is. There is NO EXCUSE for caging immigrants, giving the rich tax cuts while denying the general public affordable health care and debt relief, let alone militarizing police forces to keep whole groups of people down. No kindness, no empathy, unfeeling, and spiteful. That’s what they offer.
This is where we are at. It is for this reason that silence in the face of all of this is complacency.
Now is the time for reason
When you get down to name-calling and insults instead of reasoned arguments and discussion, you make it clear that you stand where you stand. If you only care about getting a haircut or served at your favorite restaurant — but not about the health and wellbeing of the people you come in contact with — do you think that’s good? Is it kind?
It’s probably fair to say that it’s not good or kind. It is, to be blunt, the definition of selfish.
No, masks will not necessarily protect you from getting COVID-19. But, more importantly, if you already have it — or are just a carrier for it — masks lessen the possibility of you giving it to another.
Think about the people you care about. Want to lose one of them due to carelessness on another’s part? That’s what this is about.
Along the same line, the people protesting are doing so because the chances of you being murdered by the police if you are black are astronomically, unfairly higher than if you are white. Armed white protesters were allowed to protest unmolested — unarmed black protesters are tear-gassed and shot with rubber bullets.
That’s not right.
Nothing anyone wants changed is unreasonable. In fact, the changes being demanded are specifically about reason. So, too, are stay-at-home orders, mask-wearing, and social distancing precautions.
Every single day you face new choices and decisions. You also get to choose to take a stand — or to remain complicit when kindness, empathy, and reason are desperately needed in abundance.
Choices, Self-Care, Decisions, and Selfishness
You can always choose to not participate, not engage, and watch from the sidelines. However, there may be consequences from that decision. You may find a lot of guilt, shame, and remorse if things turn uglier and you know you could have made a difference.
If you are reasonable, kind, and empathetic, I can virtually guarantee you will experience this down the line.
This is not the same as those who believe in the selfish lies and unkind action and inaction in the leadership. Someday, they might regret their choices — but today they think they are righteous. I would probably be a lot more amenable to hearing them out if they could offer me a reasonable argument and fact rather than speculation, opinion, and — frequently — school-yard name-calling.
I am not suggesting you join a protest, quit your job to “stick it to the man,” or anything irrational. What I am suggesting is that you be an ally, speak up in support of reason, kindness, and empathy, and be mindful of the power of the fear being wielded against you.
The enemy of fear is reason. Especially when the fear is immaterial.
Racism is based on fear, as is white privilege, homophobia, misogyny, and so on.
What is that fear? That there is lack and scarcity rather than abundance, and that the “other” will take your share and leave nothing behind for you. It is an amazing lie that has been employed through the ages to prop up a select few while keeping down the masses. Centuries of practice, different economies and governments, and the cycle repeats.
What does this have to do with self-care?
Everything. Why? Because self-care is too-often equated with selfishness.
Do you know what self-care really is? It’s not manicures, pedicures, massages, or anything extravagant or luxurious. No. Self-care is practicing mindfulness. It’s being aware of your mindset/headspace/psyche via your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Self-care is recognizing when you need rest, a change of scenery, a recharge, or anything else to maintain your health and wellbeing.
We have accepted the lie that self-care is selfishness — to the point where we have a mental-health crisis, depression and anxiety at never-before-seen levels, and a systemic de-emphasis on seeking care for it. Quick-fix? That’s the answer — take this pill.
Note — I am NOT knocking the power of antidepressants and the like. Hey, I am on an antidepressant — and know full-well without it I am barely functional in the face of my emotions. But I also actively seek information to better my mental health and practice mindfulness and meditation.
The negative information being broadcast to you is not at a trickle or a gentle stream — it’s a flood. The damn is broken, and you stand in the valley unprotected. Your subconscious will be inundated by it all — and without some self-care and mindfulness, you will be challenged even more.
To be the best ally and support for those fighting for justice, health, equality, and peace-of-mind — you have to be whole. That means you need self-care to achieve that.
It is not selfish to live your life while also being an ally, either. So long as what you seek doesn’t harm others, take without thought of another’s wellbeing, or destroys people, places, and/or things — it is not selfish of you.
When you maintain your wellbeing via self-care, you create more to give to others, too.
We are stronger together
The entitled few and the fear they wield are themselves afraid of one thing: when the oppressed work together. It may take time, and there may be pain — but inevitably change WILL happen. It always does.
You cannot go back to how things were — you can only move forward from here.
This, too, is why complacency in the face of this upheaval is not healthy. Working together is the best way to shift the collective consciousness and bring about more kindness and empathy while rejecting the hostility and derision.
When you care for yourself you better empower yourself to care for others, too. That’s the point and necessity of self-care. Just like a car without gas will go nowhere, a you without self-care is just as motionless.
In uncertain times like these, the lines between self-care and selfishness are even less clear than ever before. But your choices and decisions — if kind, caring, and empathetic — inform you of where you stand.
The world needs you to be the best you that you can be.
Then you can be an ally to justice, kindness, empathy, and change for the better. If you care — and if you have read this far I presume that you do — then show what you stand for. Join the caring givers in spreading kindness and empathy to overcome the cruelty and scorn of the selfish takers.
Can you see why it’s necessary now more than ever to take a stand and let go of complacency?
Know that you are worthy and deserving of using mindfulness to find and/or create the reality in which you desire to live. When all is said and done our thoughts, feelings, and actions matter, as do the choices we make and stands we take.
Originally published at http://titaniumdon.com on June 17, 2020.