my position is this – self love isn’t enough. Not even close. It is just the beginning, a fundamental beginning, but just the beginning. Loving yourself, taking care of yourself – these things are important, they are undeniably necessary – but if all we do is turn inward, if our goal is only to take care of ourselves, then we are limiting our practice and we are missing out on accountability to each other, our communities and our shared struggles and resilience. We are missing opportunities to build communities of care.
The above is an excerpt from a fantastic article on ‘Decolonizing Yoga,’ that beautifully articulates my own feelings towards a particular aspect of the health and wellness movement, and that is the limitation of the belief that we are solely responsible for our health and ‘destiny.’ To argue that this is not true at all is to undermine our efforts and the power we have over our own lives, which we do have to a degree. But to embrace it wholeheartedly and uncritically is to neglect, ignore and even reinforce the classist, racist, exclusive and oppressive powers that are in place, which undoubtedly effect peoples’ health, choices and lifestyles. I believe with all my heart that a part of being a healthy and well citizen is to reach out and help others too – and not limit that help to only those who can afford it, or who, by virtue of certain characteristics, will be readily embraced and congratulated for their efforts, whilst others remain on the margins. In short, I believe we are as accountable for others’ health and wellbeing as our own.
If you’re interested in reading more critical perspectives on self-care, I highly recommend following this conversation that was started last year on ‘Organising Upgrade,’ which had a wonderful array of opinions and responses to this topic.
So now, the million dollar question: what do YOU think??