There’s a difference between true self care and “idiot” self care

Compassion can be mistaken for always being sweet and kind. True compassion, however, can have quite the edge to it. True compassion might mean confronting a friend about the triggering diet comments they make or defining and defending boundaries with family members around holiday meals.
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Idiot compassion, on the other hand, allows you to take the path of least resistance – NOT directly addressing the issue and taking what appears to be the easier approach, but in the long run likely makes life harder. Recognizing the difference between true compassion and idiot compassion requires us to be two things: very honest with ourselves and willing to feel some discomfort.
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The same could be said for self-care. So many of us think of self-care as bath bombs and salt scrubs, manicures and glasses of wine. Things that can be purchased, applied, and used for comfort. Self-care should be comforting, but it should also address what is truly needed. Many times, true self care is not something we can acquire. It might be scheduling that long-overdue mammogram, making sure you have a few minutes all to yourself each day, or ending a friendship that has become something harmful.
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When our attempts at self-care are band-aids that ignore the true underlying need, however, they may actually be idiot self-care. If your body needs to soak and relax, the bath bomb might be the true self care. If, on the other hand, what is truly needed is reconnecting with your therapist, the bath bomb might be a form of idiot self care. Only you know the difference.
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Sometimes the best we can do is idiot self care. Be kind and don’t judge yourself. Continue to inquire within: what is happening right now and what do I truly need? You have everything you need to do this and, as I always say, I trust you!