The self is everything. In a society obsessed with advancement, technology and knowledge, the sense of oneself can be left to the side, free to wax and wane. However, in more recent times the positive view of oneself has been given precedence over concepts such as job security, relationships and the acquisition of knowledge about the world in which we live. Perhaps,, this society obsessed with advancement has finally come to an abrupt halt, where people are more concerned with the way that they choose to live their life than the betterment of the society as a whole.
The concept of ‘self-care’ is difficult to elucidate. In its most basic form self-care can be putting a face mask on for 10 minutes or wearing the tie that fills you with confidence. At a more complex level, it is cutting ties with someone who does not bring you confidence or ridding yourself of objects, as Marie Kondo describes, that no longer induce joy.
Whilst these sound positive, at a deeper level the concept of self-care can be seen as inherently problematic.
The view that a salt-lamp can heal depression is outrageous, and yet companies have marketed such products as natural ‘healers’ and such-like. The idea that to take care of yourself you must purchase face-masks, bath bombs and such-like is to align self-care with expenditure. In this sense, self-care is an illusion believed by us all in order for a consumerist society to prosper.
Further than this, self-care does not always need to entail the cutting of ties with friends who simply may at times not have the time to reply to your messages. Toxic relationships are more complex and emotionally exhausting than people not always being able to give you their full and undivided attention. The views perpetuated by the society in which we live that people are never too busy to reply are once again, outrageous. Cutting ties simply because of someone’s inability to reply is a self-centred approach to life and is an illustration of an unrealistic worldview. Here, the notion of ‘self-care’ is more aligned with entitlement and selfishness.
To this extent, the notion of ‘self-care’ perpetuated in this society is an illusion. Self-care should not be about image; cutting people off and fixing outside problems but should be viewed in a more realistic sense. Sometimes self-care is simply doing nothing and taking time to heal, rather than buying into all kinds of fads and sticking plasters over gaping wounds.
Whilst we have all bought into the concept of self-care, be it through books, nice cuisine or pamper products, it should be said that the concept is inherently an illusion; created to engender an elevated sense of self in a society that should be working toward the betterment of mankind on a communal level. In this sense, then, the concept of self-care as it is posed today is ultimately of detriment to an ever-advancing society, for it allows us to be overly-centred in practices and beliefs that will not, in the long term, change anything, and blinds us from the bigger changes to be made