Once upon a time in grad school my roommate introduced me to the show, Parks and Rec. It ended up being one of the shows we watched on repeat.
It was joyous and silly. We howled with laughter in our small two bed apartment at the end of very long days in conservatory and all that comes with it.
One of the tag lines of the show is famously “Treat Yo’ Self”. The idea being that once a year, or every once in a while, they would have an entire day devoted to treating themselves to luxury and pampering. It’s a day all about lowering stress, relaxation and pure enjoyment.
For my generation (millennials), this has become a turn of a phrase that has permeated our existence. When you say “Treat Yo’ Self” everyone knows what you mean. You are gifting a day, a moment, purchase, a deluxe delight to you.
As I’ve witnessed “Treat Yo’ Self” in myself and the world around me since, I’ve seen it expressed as self-care. I’ve seen it as nourishing acts of self-love that can show up in all kinds of ways - ways that have truly supported me.
I’ve also witnessed “Treat Yo’ Self” in its shadow more times than I can count. The shadow is self-sabotage.
In its shadow, the idea of “Treat Yo’ Self’ has actually blocked and hurt me. I’ve seen it block and hurt others. And unlike the original depiction in the show, this shadow side is pervasive - it’s not just one day or every once in a while, I see it all of the time.
So where is the line between self-care and self-sabotage? What do I even mean by this and how do they each show up?
I have a mindfulness take on ‘Treat Yo’ Self’ ideology and it goes like this.
The beauty of ‘Treat Yo’ Self’ is that it brought to the forefront the idea that I can pamper and intentionally care for myself for no reason. I don’t need to earn it.
I’m worthy of this love and care just because I’m alive.
As someone who always felt she needed to earn every single ounce of pleasure for decades, this was a revelation to me. I muscled my way through life for a very long time and it’s still my tendency in certain moments.
This practice of “Treat Yo’ Self’ in many ways has been a soothing salve and way of healing my yang-heavy, task master conditioning.
It put to rest my previous belief in the idea of “selfless” and how literally lacking a sense of self was cause for praise. ‘Treat Yo’ Self’ has led me to the knowing that having my own full cup is what allows me to show up not only for myself, but for others.
These morsels of goodness sprinkled throughout my life, “just because”, have deepened my relationship with myself, with others, the world around me and allowed me to rise in all the ways I get to serve humanity.
For me, it’s a beautiful matcha, fresh flowers, a nourishing dinner with a friend, a concert (pre-COVID), time in nature or a yoga/mindfulness event. To me, these are forms of self-care.
Last weekend I got a pedicure for the first time since August, it was luxurious, fun and adorning. I loved it and each time I’ve seen my feet in the shower or on my yoga mat this week, I’ve smiled!
Each of us is different and will embody this practice and nourishing care uniquely. What I’ve come to know is that regardless of how it’s expressed by each of us, self-care and love is an important part of living.
Self-care It is ‘Treat Yo’ Self’ in its utter brilliance. This utter brilliance changed the trajectory of my life.
The shadow side of ‘Treat Yo’ Self’ is gnarly self-sabotage. It’s sneaky and effective. Self-sabotage is a slippery slope because it shows up as self-care in disguise.
Rather than support me in nourishment so I can love and be the highest expression of myself, self-sabotage deliberately blocks and destroys my highest expression. It’s a trickster.
It’s “I deserve it” and putting things on a credit card that I don’t have real money for. It’s eating that food that actually makes me feel death for two days. It’s not following through with action steps on a project I love all in the name of ‘Treat Yo’ Self’ and ‘self-care’.
Boiled down, ‘Treat Yo’ Self’ expressed in this way is an excuse and loophole out of responsibility and integrity. It’s choosing to not be in alignment with what I actually want or who I am. Not only does it destroy how I want to feel or what I want to create - it erodes my trust with myself.
Many times when it’s self-sabotage, I feel empty after the exchange rather than filled. Many times its consumption, or more poignantly - avoidance. I can feel and know I’m out of sync.
In my students, I see this as someone really excited and compelled to learn a new piece, but then not practicing it. They needed “time off”. Different than choosing a day or two each week that will be rest days, it’s self-sabotage and avoidance.
It’s a direct block of what they actually desire. This is why many times many students express feeling disappointed after a week of self-sabotage.
In my clients, I see this as someone who longs for more power and peace in their life and business. And yet, they don’t meditate, journal, commit to their practices, or follow through. They ‘Treat themselves’ to Netflix and sugary foods rather than give the 10 minutes it would require to tap into the peace and power inside themselves.
Again, it’s a direct block of themselves and what they truly desire. All in the name of ‘Treat Yo’ Self’ and ‘self-care’
These are instances of self-sabotage masquerading as ‘self-care’. It’s using ‘Treat Yo’ Self’ as a means of abandoning yourself. It’s probably one of the most un-caring things someone can do to themselves.
How many times have I “treated myself” only to feel a few hours or day alter that it wasn’t really a treat after all? It actually made me feel like shit or blocked me from what I actually want, need and long for?
Self-sabotage is the ‘Treat Yo’ Self’ illusion that is perpetuated by a culture based in excess and consumption. It’s the painful lie and sneaky shadow.
The cool thing about calling out and speaking truth about a shadow? You almost can’t help but bring it into the light.
Three of my most tried and true mindfulness practices:
Shift your perception of discipline, lean into the almighty pause and be your own best friend.
Shift your perception of discipline
The word discipline gets a bad rep. I can see why. It literally can be used to describe how people punish their children! That’s another blog entirely.
To me, discipline is devotion to something that matters deeply. Discipline can be the greatest form of self-love, self-care and true ‘Treat Yo’ Self’ on the planet. What feels better than being or creating something you wanted as a direct result of your actions?
In this way, discipline is the antidote to self-sabotage and highway to self-love. With this perception and definition you are supported to follow through with what you want to create AND nourish yourself at the same time.
Discipline is not a punishment, it’s a form of self-love and respect. It’s your golden ticket out of self-sabotage.
Lean into the almighty pause
The best way to know if something is self-care or self-sabotage is to pause and ask yourself. You’d be amazed at the answers you have within you when you give the time to simply ask!
Why am I doing this? Is this rooted in love or fear? How am I going to feel about this tomorrow, in a few days, a week? Is this actually caring? Am I avoiding something or is this legit self-care?
The answers to these questions will guide you to your truth.
In music there is something called caesura or commonly known as “railroad tracks”. It’s two black parallel diagonal lines that interrupt the music. It’s a pause in sound, a cleansing, a clearing and feeling before moving on to the next part of the art.
Give yourself the gift of railroad tracks and the almighty pause. This practice alone could shift your entire ‘Treat Yo’ Self’ lifestyle, up your percentage of true nourishment and decrease the shadow.
Give yourself the gift of space where wisdom can meet you.
Finally and most importantly, be your own best friend.
Can you best your own best friend through all of it? Can you give yourself real honesty while at the same time wrapping yourself in a warm quilt of love that is unwavering?
To tap into your ‘Treat Yo’ Self’ potential, being your own best friend is necessary. No matter how many times you notice a shadow, can you gently welcome yourself back to nourishment?
Can you choose this path again and again? How would you speak to yourself in this process as your own best friend? What would you do?
Being able to love myself through every stage of awareness has been my biggest area of growth and my biggest gift to myself of my entire lifetime so far.
It’s my hope that it can be yours as well. So as you navigate ‘Treat Yo’ Self’, I invite you to really tap into loving kindness for the beautiful soul you are and your commitment to fully living - regardless of what you may see!
None of the other parts matter or mean as much without this BFF present.
What does “Treat Yo’ Self’ mean to you?
When were some times when you truly nourished yourself in the brilliance of self-care?
When were some times when you actually sabotaged yourself in the shadow disguise of “self-care”?
What self-love, expression and impact for others can you create through “Treat Yo’ Self” in your own life?
Discipline is self-love. Lean into the pause. Be your own best friend.
And of course, TREAT YO' SELF!!
‘Treat Yo’ Self’ is not only a joyous part of living, it’s essential to fill your cup so you can pour out beauty and love to others. In that vein and on the one year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am offering a way to ‘Treat Yo’ Self’ through mindfulness.
This nourishment comes by way of my course and mindfulness audio collection, Teacher Resilience Resets. If you are a teacher, parent or guide of any kind, this is for you! It is a way to nourish your soul, even for ten minutes at a time, as you continue to support others and navigate life. It includes a course on the art of holding a mindful space for others and a full collection of audio files of mindfulness training on topics like “Just Be, Just Breathe”, “Voices in my Head”, “No one is listening” and much more!
Best part of all - Originally priced at $150, it is now just $55! My gift to you to ‘Treat Yo’ Self’ and fill your cup after a year of pouring out.
Here is the link to get it! It will only be available at this price for 7 days, so if it's a yes, definitely grab it now. 😊
Treat Yo’ Self!
In every sense of the brilliance and leaving the shadow for the light.
Treating, loving and leaving the shadow with you,
P.S. Know someone who wants to create more mindfulness in their life? Send them this email and lets vibrate higher together!