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Why doesn't taking care of myself come naturally to me?

111 Answers
Last Updated: 01/30/2022 at 10:22pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
United States
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Lisa Groesz, PhD


With evidenced based therapies, we find the root of the problem together to implement solutions. We all face crises, transitions, or disorders at some time.

Top Rated Answers
Anonymous - Expert in Getting Unstuck
August 7th, 2016 4:21am
There are a myriad of reasons why we may not take care of ourselves well. Maybe we've always relied on others to take care of us, or we never really picked up the good habits as a kid and we struggle to pick them up now. Maybe the experiences we go through saps us of energy we needed for ourselves. At any rate, few things come naturally to us, we don't even think now when we walk but when we first tried out our legs they wouldn't go where we wanted them and kept wobbling and collapsing. Know that whatever efforts you make to take care of yourself will count in the short run and the long run ^^
Anonymous - Expert in Getting Unstuck
August 5th, 2016 4:41pm
Sometimes a person can get stuck in a form of depression, where self-care seems like a overwhelming task. I do not know if this applies to your situation or not.
Anonymous - Expert in Getting Unstuck
October 8th, 2016 9:37am
I'm not sure because I"m not you, but I can offer some things to think about. Building healthy habits takes a long time and mostly starts in our young childhood. If, when we're chlidren, we take the attitude of "well I have my whole life to learn this so I won't do it now" we are much less likely to learn it later or apply it to our lives appropriately. Having said that, once we recognize that we are lacking routine in certain habits, we have the opportunity to try again to set routines for ourselvse - and routines are best when it comes to taking care of ourselves, because it programs these actions into our brains. If we don't love ourselves due to self-confidence issues, depression, or another challenge, we may not see "the point" in taking care of ourselves. If this is the case, building healthy habits is even more difficult, but that's okay! If you work on your self-confidence and self-love, while also trying to keep to at least part of a routine, you may begin to see a difference. If you miss a day or a task, don't beat yourself up over it - just acknowledge that you missed it and try again the next day; but always reward yourself for the tasks or days that you totally take care of yourself with
October 27th, 2016 8:10am
Sometimes you can feel like you don't deserve to be taken care of, but you just have to remember that you deserve it as much as everyone else. Never be afraid to put yourself first, and as you do you'll find that the people around you adjust their behaviours as well. Learn to really love yourself and things will always improve. You are amazing and have everything to live for.
July 15th, 2017 3:53am
Sometimes I struggle with self-care as well. For me, one reason is self-esteem or self-respect: I don't always regard myself positively, so it can seem like I don't deserve good self-care. At those times, I try to practice self-acceptance. For me, that means seeing myself non-judgmentally and compassionately, the way I would regard a close friend. It's a paradox: when I can love myself as I am, I am more able to make positive changes, like doing more to care for myself. Often, one question I ask myself is: what would I do for or say to a loved one in need of support, then I try to treat myself that same way.
June 28th, 2018 10:49pm
Probably because your brain is saying that you deserve the abuse. Maybe your brain is constantly supplying thoughts oh how you're ugly and worthless and deserve to skip a meal because if someone in Africa is skipping a meal then so do you and how you are stu- Needless to say, it's all in your head. It's going to be tough, but you need to combat these thoughts and starting eating at least once a day. Start buying that shirt that you really wanted. Because, believe it or not, you are an amazing human being who deserves so much more than I can give you.
September 18th, 2016 6:25am
We all are raised thinking negative about ourself, criticizing ourself thinking that our achievements and victories are not that big, seeing what others have better than us, even when it comes to love, we love others more than we love ourself! Maybe that is the reason taking care of us doesn't naturally comes to us!
September 10th, 2016 12:20pm
You're not alone, it doesn't come naturally to many people! At some point, putting other people first teaches you that you come second, and in your own life, your mental and physical wellness should always come first. Picking up healthy habits for your mental and physical state is a learning process, and everyone takes it at their own pace.
March 17th, 2019 2:41pm
We are socialized to think of "relationships" as something we have with others but not so much with ourselves. Developing a relationship with yourself may help you see more clearly how you would like to prioritize yourself within your life. There is emerging research in the fields of positive and organizational psychology that distinguishes among selfish, selfless, and "otherish" orientations. The selfish orientation is when you prioritize yourself over others. The selfless orientation is when you prioritize others over yourself. And the otherish oriention is when you think yourself as another person in your life. Research suggests that successful people in business tend to be "otherish." Try it out and see if it applies in your personal life as well.
January 5th, 2017 5:40am
Failing to take care of myself generally stemmed from a history of others pressuring me to put their wants and needs ahead of my own. Self-care is a skill, and like any skill, it requires regular practice to maintain. Instead, I practiced always putting others ahead of myself, even to my own detriment. So, I had to take a real mindful effort to prioritize myself and take care of my needs to begin making it a regular practice.
April 14th, 2017 1:17am
If you struggle with feelings of worthlessness or depression, it can become difficult to focus on yourself, or you may lack the energy it takes to take care of your basic needs. It takes energy, and dedication!
August 20th, 2016 11:35am
Self-care consists of many routine actions and not all of them are interesting or exiting. You need to develop healthy habbits and then self-care will come almost automaticly and won't require much effort. Forming habbits is difficult but it is worth it.
August 11th, 2016 7:37pm
Why do you feel this way? Can you share your thoughts on how you feel about this? Please feel free to share how you feel.
October 22nd, 2016 11:54pm
Taking care of myself doesn't come naturally to me as I never learned that I deserved to take care of myself or indeed, how to do it. I learned how to look after others when I was young. Now that I am an adult, I want to reaffirm my ability and desire to look after myself properly, as and when it is appropriate.
September 9th, 2016 12:36pm
I was raised in a culture that praises the ignoring of ones needs. Even going to the doctor was made out to be a bad thing. If you couldn't "muscle through" you were made out to be weak. I internalized that message and learned to ignore my needs. It took a lot of therapy to undo that damage, but now I am proud of the fact that I take great care of myself.
November 14th, 2020 3:37am
I can't tell you what your specific reason is since it's different for different people, but I CAN tell you this is really common for many different reasons. If you need help to figure this out, there's no shame in that at all. You're doing really great just by being here and seeking support. You know yourself better than anyone, and it might help to think about the times where you have done better and done worse at taking care of yourself, and identify the differences in your situation. I've been right there with you at times, and I know how awful it feels. Keep your head up and keep reaching out ♡
October 17th, 2020 5:23am
It feels like I am not as important as the others around me even though we are all humans and all humans deserve the same amount of love and care. I need to understand my worth sometimes and I know that's okay. I just compare myself to others too much and feel like they deserve more than me. But taking care of me is just too much sometimes and I understand that I need to work on it. Taking care of me is the least I could do for such an amazing soul that's kept me going in life.
July 31st, 2016 5:41am
Sometimes some people are better at taking care of others rather than caring for themselves. Sometimes we forget how important self-care is or know it's important but rather do other things. What makes self-care difficult for you?
November 23rd, 2017 11:53pm
To be honest, I don't think it comes naturally to anyone! We're taught how to tie our shoes and brush our teeth, but never about the importance of self-care - even though they are both so important! Try to think of taking care of yourself as a practice. We aren't born knowing how to ride a bike, but instead we learn ever so slowly, until it can become habitual. I believe that taking care of ourselves is exactly the same.
August 14th, 2016 10:53pm
I think we can all feel like we don't deserve to take care of ourselves...even though we definitely deserve all the self-love we can give!
August 15th, 2016 10:13pm
Living a balanced life is hard work. It involves making choices that choose your health and well being over others and your immediate desires. You will probably encounter resistance, but in the end, taking care of yourself is worth it.
April 14th, 2019 2:48pm
Many people struggle with self care or feel like it doesn't come naturally to them. Often that can happen because when we are children we mirror the behaviour of others towards us. Many adults still walk around with the internalized voices of their parents in their minds. When we grow older it might also happen that other people treat us poorly and we continue to mirror their behaviour towards us. It can also happen that we don't value ourselves or think that we are not worthy of self care. But that is simply not true. Another possibility is that it is difficult, because some people always feel that they have to put other people before themselves to the point that they have nothing left to give. That is not meaningful or maintainable. You can't give someone else water if there is no water in your own cup. Your first responsibility is towards yourself and if you've taken good care of yourself then you have good things to give to other people too. The good news is self care is something that can be learned. It will feel difficult or weird in the beginning and that's okay. Just keep practicing. Start with small and simple things and gradually work towards the bigger things. It's also okay if you struggle to learn it as a habit. It's also part of self care to have grace with yourself. So if you can't do it today you don't have to berate yourself. You can simply tell yourself that you will try again tomorrow. It does get easier.
October 2nd, 2019 7:29pm
To some people it doesn't come naturally because they weren't taught that it is an important thing to do. Like me for example. I always learnt that taking care of everyone else is a very good and needed thing, but it made me think that taking care of myself was a stupid and unneeded thing to do. Now I start to know better, because in the end it's all we have. In the end it's just ourselves, so we better make something good out of it. Taking care of yourself, accepting yourself and loving yourself is the most important thing in life.
August 22nd, 2020 9:36pm
Self-care. They make it sound so easy. Like all there is to it is just skincare and drinking water. In my experience it's not easy. Because there are so many things to consider! How am I feeling? Am I tired? Am I hungry? Does eating this will make me feel good or bad? Now or in the long run? Taking care of myself requires skills that need to be learnt and mastered and applied so many times before they become automated. It's not just a set of standard things that are always the same in every situation. No, you have to consider so many things. Sometimes the best thing for you is one thing, and the next day doing the same thing might be bad for you. And we are not perfect. We are human beings. So we will make mistakes. A lot of them. Making mistakes feels bad but it's normal, so we have to forgive ourselves. But that's not that easy either. All of this requires a lot of effort and dedication, I think. But even if it doesn't come naturally, and if it doesn't feel that great and empowering, it's still worth it.
November 22nd, 2020 9:44pm
This can happen a lot when you are someone that many people depend on. It is likely that you spend so much time helping others that at the end of the day, you don't have enough to put towards yourself. But that doesn't mean that helping others is a bad thing! However, it is good to set up limits and boundaries to make sure that, while you are helping others, you are still taking care of yourself. Personally, I tend to put other people's need before my own, and it's really hard to say no to others in situations where my own self-care is at risk. But it's important to keep in mind that your well-being comes before others'. It takes a lot of time to get used to treating yourself, but one step goes a long way.
April 15th, 2021 9:23pm
Personally, I believe taking care of oneself doesn't feel natural because it seems both selfish and a waste of time. It feels natural for the body and mind to act in a way which benefits ourselves at times, and often we forget that we too are human. Helping others is way easier to do than to help ourselves as we often don't admit that there is an issue or problem within us that needs resolving, we seek to ignore it and don't seek for help from others. The first step to taking care of yourself is to check in with oneself and evaluate how u feel in the moment - keep doing this and it will help to eventually build this response to certain emotions, as if you are checking in
July 30th, 2016 12:35pm
Maybe its the way that you were brought up, people in your family might have always told and promised you that they will always take care of you so there was no reason for you to take care of yourself. But its always good to learn how to take care of yourself because it will come handy someday.
August 24th, 2016 12:47pm
Sometimes we feel that we don't deserve to take care of ourselves. This is so untrue. We need to learn to love ourselves, and treat ourselves how we treat other people. Then taking care of yourself will come.
June 30th, 2018 4:03pm
Taking care of yourself is hard for many people, and is often not what’s seemingly natural to do in difficult situations.
November 27th, 2019 1:14pm
Taking care of ourselves never comes naturally to us because since childhood we are taught to keep others before us. We are always supposed to base our actions on how others will respond or reciprocate to them. The first step towards self-care is accepting that it's okay to keep ourselves and our mental health first. It's okay to think about ourselves first. We need to understand that we are equally important as the opposite person and we need the same amount of care and love. We need to understand that empty vessels cannot pour. Over time it will come naturally.