5 Life-Changing Lessons I’ve Learned from Self-Care

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Self-care is this funny thing that we all know we should be doing on a daily basis, but don’t carve out the space in our days to actually do it.

The moment I became intentional about wanting to truly better myself I began to notice things. I began to notice small nuances throughout the day that ultimately made a larger impact on how I felt.

It’s hard to make the snap of the fingers drastic changes—they’re life long habits we are trying to break.

This is why we tend to have the desire to want to change, but typical don’t stick to our self-care habits because the desired change isn’t happening fast enough.

It’s the small consistent moments, actions and thoughts that make the big picture difference. Tweet this

Here are 5 lessons I learned from being intentional about self-care:

I learned I needed to be selfish in order to grow

Selfish from a spiritual, emotional and physical standpoint. I arrived to a point where I realized that if I didn’t take care of myself first, I couldn’t offer by best self to others. To make a difference in, and be part of, something much larger than myself.

I chose, and committed to, connecting with myself on a daily and consistent basis; through reading, reflecting and writing (sometimes meditation).

I allotted the time to do so. Not having it become part of my to do list, but rather, having it become part of who I am.

This realization provided me space to grow.

I learned how to be vulnerable and honest with myself; and others

Vulnerability is stereotyped as being weak. It wasn’t until I surrendered to my vulnerabilities, accepted my flaws and uncovered those deep and painful corners of who I am, that I discovered that vulnerability is actually a sign of strength.

We all feel vulnerable, it’s part of our human condition. The difference is what we choose to do with it; suppress it or release it.

This realization provided me space to grow.

I learned that the in-between moments define our lives

Rushing to and always thinking about the next (big) thing was a typical day for me. When I slowed down, I was able to see that these in-between moments are the exact moments that are defining who I am.

Remember, this very moment we can change our lives. – The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

I began to see, and live in, the present moment differently. Our lives aren’t defined by the graduations or the job promotions or the new houses. It’s defined by all of those small moments leading up to those big moments.

This realization provided me space to grow.

I learned how to see my failures differently

I avoided failures. Not because of the way it might have made me feel, but because of how others might have thought of me if I did fail. I was concerned about how others would perceive me.

Failing and finally getting to a place in which I saw it differently changed the entire essence of who I was. I was finally okay with my failures, I accepted them and used them as schoolwork; to learn, to find the lessons. Ultimately, doing something about it and putting those lessons to practice.

Real learning comes from making mistakes.

This realization provided me space to grow.

I learned that we all have a story worth sharing

No matter how big or small. We are all experts of our own lives and we all have something worth sharing with others that can make a difference.

Sharing our stories provide opportunities for others to see things differently, to relate to someone else, to toss the feeling of being alone aside.

Our stories matter. This discovery allowed me to be honest, not only with myself, but with others.

This realization provided me space to grow.

By learning and doing all of these things, self-care has ultimately led me down a path to be who I am. When committing to the process, there’s this domino affect that takes place.

All of the good that we desire to feel is connected—and it starts with self-care. Tweet this

Take care of your self first, then the abundant flow of love, joy, fulfillment in life and the authentic feeling of freedom eventually surfaces.

Self-care is a process; it’s a journey. It’s not an arrival to a destination. Self-care is important during the rough times, and probably more important during the good times.

Commit to the journey and learn to love the process.


Photo credit: aliza razell

This also appeared on Medium. Full, unedited version resides here.

About Eric Ungs

Eric Ungs writes about a journey of intentional self growth, nudging you to let go; to give yourself permission to be vulnerable and honest with yourself so you can give your best self to others. Author of 10 Incredible Ways to Live a Fulfilling and Joyful Life ebook.


  1. I love this! You make a great point that self-care is the first step in connecting with others.

    In the last year I’ve really learned to embrace, and promote, being “selfish” in this way. I love this quote: “Sometimes you have to be selfish to be selfless.” (Edward Albert). I wrote about it here: http://jaybirdblog.com/dirty-words-radical-acts/

    1. Thanks for the comment Alicia! I love that quote as well. I almost feel like we are doing a disservice to those around us, not being able to put forth our best selves, because we don’t practice self-care. Thanks so much for stopping by!

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