Self care

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Understanding Self care

Eight concrete steps to lead a more contented life:
  • Give yourself the permission to treat yourself just like you would treat your friends or family members when they screw up. Allow yourself to be imperfect.
  • See the difference between making a bad decision and being a bad person. Making a bad decision does not automatically make you a bad person.
  • Accept that you are human and will necessarily make mistakes. This sense of vulnerability will also make you feel more connected to other people, as you realise that we all struggle.
  • Recognise your flaws and setbacks as learning experiences and opportunities to grow. Embrace these challenges, persist in finding meaning in them and, most importantly, don’t give up on yourself.
  • Practise gratitude. By noticing, affirming and appreciating the good things in your life, you will reduce the focus on what you don’t have. Gratitude can create a buffer against feelings of inadequacy and the tendency to ruminate.
  • Stay in the present. Being mindful of where you are and what you’re doing can help you tamp down negative thoughts. However, it doesn’t mean that you should ignore the past. As the Danish philosopher Søren Kierkegaard said, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
  • Focus on helping others. Generosity has great restorative function. However, you must consciously choose the recipients of your generosity, in light of your resources (from mental, physical, emotional to financial).
  • Find a supportive psychotherapist or coach. Psychotherapy or coaching can provide you with a safe environment to become more aware of your thoughts and feelings. This can give you a more realistic perspective of yourself and others, while helping you to. (1)
(1) Manfred Kets de Vries - INSEAD - 2022