Self-Care is about Dignity: Caring for All Our Relations


Mental Health Week Blog by Ryan Moyer, FNHA Program Consultant for Mental Health and Wellness 


“May hope forever wipe away your tears,
And, above all, may silence make you strong.”
-Chief Dan George

According to Google, self-care is yoga, meditation and lemon water. Thanks Google but we know that self-care is so much more than that.

Self-care isn't about being self-absorbed—it's about caring for our families, communities, environments, and workplaces. For those of us who don't create routines for self-balancing behaviours (*Ryan puts his hand up), this is an important reality to remember and live.

But what is this 'self' thing we speak of when we say 'self-care'?

For me, self-care is dignity. Self-care is saying what needs to be said – honestly and with respect. Without speaking our truth, we lose our dignity – we lose ourselves. If we don't know our truth, let's not speak. If we do know our truth, let's speak it regardless of outcome. I have colleagues that embody this quality and I aspire to it!

Last November I was fortunate to take part in an overnight ceremony on Vancouver Island. Through song, prayer, medicines, and seated meditation, I had the extreme displeasure of feeling the outcomes of moments in my life when I spoke without dignity—selfishly, aggressively or manipulatively… moments when I spoke without truth.

I re-experienced these moments from a 'third person' viewpoint. I actually felt the pain of losing my dignity—of distorting myself—and the pain it caused others.

The pain was overwhelming … (even compared to sitting in a mangled-lotus position on a dirt floor for 12 hours as a guy whose only form of yoga is vacuuming under his couches).

As the eastern sky began to light up in the morning, it dawned on me:  I need to stretch more. I also realized that, the quality of All our Relations is determined by the quality of our self-care.

I couldn't 'un-do' the moments in my life where my relations became distorted and graceless by undignified speech, but I can recognize these moments as they arise in the future and remind myself that speaking truth is dignity.

Now, for self-care, I'm trying to remember that if I don't know my truth: may silence make me strong.