The idea of self-care has blown up in the behavioral health field, social media, blog posts, and heck it’s one of the best-selling genres of books.

I’m a big advocate of self-care. But not just the bubble-bath-taking, self-pampering, fitness-body-building, travel-the-world type of self-care advocate. I mean the self-care you don’t post a photo of on social media. I mean the hard conversations you have with a friend you hurt. Or the times you spend talking to God when you can barely gather the energy to speak. Or the moments you feel yourself losing patience and you make the decision to step out of the room.

I’m all for exercise, good food, bubble baths, and vacations. But self-care is INTERNAL as well. When you care for a tree, the pruning to bring new growth is just as important as the feeding/watering. It’s constantly asking the question “is this tree (or am I) fruitful?”

This is a concept I’ve been toiling with for the past year. When counseling clients, they often say they are actively practicing more self-care but feel as if something is missing. After discussion, it’s the internal self-care that seems to be missing. The relationship with God, practice of faith, testing of patience, sharpening in friendships, and vulnerable conversations. You can apply all the substance to your life externally, but what substance are you filling yourself with internally?

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