08 Oct Is Self Care Just A Current Trend That Makes Us Soft And Scared?
In 1943, Abraham Maslow, one of the foremost researchers in psychology, published his paper A Theory of Motivation in which he divided human needs into D (Deficit) Needs and B (Being) Needs. The D Needs are the categories when the need is missing and we require it to survive – we physically need food, a safe shelter, sleep, but also on this list is human interaction. The B needs are the more complex feelings that give us a more fulfilling life – that sense of purpose, achievement, self-satisfaction, and self-esteem.
Self Care may be a new and currently “in” phrase but it is certainly not new. It is actually a contributory factor of the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs which you may be familiar with from some of our programmes. To achieve “full humanness” or Self Actualisation, we must fulfil the steps that lead to feeling self-respect, belonging, and self-esteem by having safety and firstly, the basic human need of being nourished and not starving.
How does Self Care fit into this?
Self Care is so much more than the spa, bubble bath or even a walk exploring nature reputation it is currently receiving. At its most basic level, it is ensuring that “I” as an individual am safe and have my needs cared for so that “I” can take care of others who may need me. Self Care is, a the cabin crew on an aircraft may say, putting on my oxygen mask and life jacket so that I can help others. It is making sure that “I” care for myself so that “I” can do my job, be a part of my family and friend groups, and empower others.
Maslow said that our Hierarchy of Needs can change during our lives. At different times life experiences will determine our needs. If we lose our job and struggle to pay the mortgage, our D Needs will become far more important than our B Needs – at least until we find another job, and can settle our financial situation (and place of safety). These are the times that our Self-Care is primarily fulfilling the deficits so that you can move beyond them and on to Self Care of our B Needs.
Achieving the B Needs in our lives is the difference between surviving and thriving, and our Self Care changes accordingly. Being in strong relationships, managing our career and achieving job satisfaction, participating on courses for self development and achieving personal goals fulfil the B Needs of Maslow’s hierarchy.
There is a growing tendency towards Self Care being about protection from risks and keeping in our comfort zone. Everyone has fears and anxieties which we can allow to hold us back or we can take control in order to move forward.
The clinical psychologist Dr Hamira Riaz explains why it is vital our Self Care includes stepping out of our comfort zones: “Facing into anxiety and worry involves an element of personal stretch that always feels uncomfortable, but it’s outweighed by the sense of accomplishment that comes with pushing through and achieving a goal.”
Taking care of our B needs should be affirming, positive and enable us to achieve personal growth and a growth mindset, by identifying our personal individual needs that will develop our strengths and gain skills to deal with weaknesses. We must learn and challenge ourselves. By taking risks, breaking down mental barriers, and gaining a sense of achievement, we will empower ourselves and move towards becoming the best version of ourselves.
Self Care is stepping out of our comfort zones to achieve our personal needs so that we can be the unique fulfilled person we want to be.