Anything to do with slowing down, and going at your own pace, has come to be considered inferior in patriarchal grind culture; where it is considered you need to push yourself in order to be of value, the currency is competition and the main goals are to be productive, ‘progress’ and ‘achieve’.
Whether this is at work, in workouts, in our s3x life, spiritual practice, even our healing, things can become goal-oriented and competitive very quickly.
We can be just as dependent on rushing to reach goals and ‘be the best’ and 'evolve constantly' in our self-development as we can in work life.
I'm not saying that these things are bad, in fact they're a natural part of life, but they can easily be hijacked by the mind or various forms of ego, they then become domineering and fake; overshadowing the more organic transformation and directioning which Life takes care of.
Self-care is self-connection.
Going at your own pace, in any endeavour, requires a level of self-connection. Self-care is one of the ways of achieving, and maintaining, this.
Self-care is important not because you should be your only focus or priority, or because you are more important than anything or anyone else in your life (that is a self-serving attitude, not one of self-care).
It is important because it connects you to your essence, the core of yourself, and it is only from that intuitive, natural place that you can operate with integrity and deep fulfilment in the world.
There is a fetishisation of the softness and submission of femininity in spirituality and wellness. ‘Soft era’ ‘surrendering’ and ‘being in your feminine’ are all associated with soft self care.
‘Soft’ self care can look like:
Bathing and annointing rituals
Morning and bedtime rituals
Beauty and body care, beautifying your environment
Pleasure practices including self-pleasure
Soft self care is important, but it is not the only element neccesary in looking after ourselves. It also makes self-care practices exclusive by implication; only available to put into practice by those who are rich in the resources of time and money.
It also excludes male-energy dominated people, as such soft self-care practices are very dominant in traditional archetypes of what it means to be 'feminine'.
This also, of course, does a disservice to women. Thinking that the best way to care for themselves is by being soft, moisturised, relaxed and surrendered. When, for many women, it isn't.
This binary, simplistic 'love and light' vision of femininity disempowers women, keeping them in their ‘maiden’ phase, distant from the nuanced energies of the dark feminine archetypes, and so the full power and strength of the feminine, and of themeselves.
This can lead to self-abandonment and excessive dependency on outside authorities; the opposite of self-connection.
This is why ‘hard’ self care practices are so important. ‘Hard’ self care includes:
Cutting energetic Cords or ties
Owning your yes and no
Freeing your voice in all circumstances and environments
Speaking up for yourself and
Defending others and defending your values
Claiming personal and public space
Shadow work; shadows need to be acknowledged and brought to light in order to be released, the love and light only philosophy keeps them hanging around persistently
These forms of hard self care allow all of us to step into the full spectrum of our power and connect with the integrity of who we are. This happens through connecting with our intuition, voice, wisdom, honesty and integrity and being unafraid to take up the space we need and be true to ourselves in all environments.