The Problem With Self-Care
How the individualism of self-care is fueling community divide
I was proclaimed dead at birth. After many grueling hours of labor, I finally decided to make an entrance into this world. My entrance however was sickening — I was very blue colored, wheezing and my appendages were disjointed. One of the doctors declared my condition terminal with merely just days to live. However, two doctors decided to think otherwise. Over the next two months they took shifts to care for me while I was in the critical care unit.
My mom was not able to breastfeed me due to the strain on her body from labor. My aunt made a deal with one of the other new moms in the maternity ward. She said she would cook meals for her in exchange for breast milk. My first breastfeeding experience did not come from my mom, but from a stranger who was at the hospital. Every time my mom tells me this story, I think about the circumstances a lot. I wonder, if it were the same scenario in America, would I have survived? What would have happened if the other mom had just “minded her business” or only focused on her situation? What would have happened if everyone had just focused on their individual needs. Over the last several years, the self-care movement has become a viral craze, where focusing on self and only self has become paramount.
If you go on any social media platform these days you’ll find several quotes about focusing on yourself and healing your past trauma. They’ll say that minding your business is good for your health, and if someone is not giving what you want then you shouldn’t have them in your life. Over the years, we have built a belief system that self has to come first, that the self needs to be fixed before one can engage society in a meaningful way. Yet, society influences the self more than any other factors. We confuse self reliance and personal grit for self understanding and wholeness. We don’t give enough credit to how influential our friends and surrounding communities are in creating our perception of self. Surely if we lived on a planet by ourselves then the amount of self work would make sense. We do not.
No amount of self care and introspection or therapy is going to solve the deep rooted systemic issues of…