When we think of selfcare, we tend to think of long hot paths full of rose petals or a cozy night in with a great movie and some favorite snacks. Or maybe it’s the discipline to go to the gym every morning. I’ve written before about how each of those things in and of itself isn’t necessarily selfcare…that it’s the attitude with which we experience these acts. But there’s another side of selfcare that is far less talked about. It’s when the selfcare we need kinda sucks.

When Selfcare Sucks

For those experiencing a medical problem, for example, selfcare can be doing a whole list of things you really don’t want to. It can involve driving back and forth from appointments, dealing with condescending doctors, having to take medications that make one feel worse, multiple tests, or lifestyle changes that cramp all the things one used to do for selfcare.

Or maybe there’s something that needs to happen to balance out one’s relationships. Maybe a confrontation is necessary. Maybe one is building up the courage to quit, raise a complaint or leave a relationship. And maybe whatever needs to happen doesn’t come so easily. Maybe it is asking for a level of confidence not felt, or the facing of one’s deepest held wounding. This can be scary. And often, procrastination gets in the way.

Or maybe one has a difficult goal to reach out of necessity rather than pleasure. For example, I have to keep studying French. I don’t really enjoy it all that much, and I find it so exhausting. But I know that doing it enriches my life here. I can consider it drudgery; or I can consider it selfcare. But doing so doesn’t mean it isn’t difficult.

Perhaps one’s budget needs tightening and this means giving up on the gratification of a longed-for trip. Or some responsibility demands that one set aside one’s own selfcare to help another. It may seem ironic, but dealing with what is in front of us, and being able to go with the flow, is indeed selfcare. The second we allow the mind to convince us that we’re somehow being cheated of our own selfcare time, resentments can grow. Recognizing that this is happening and taking steps to change our attitude is selfcare too.

Sometimes, selfcare just sucks.