Growth VS Self-Care

Look, I’ll be one of the first to say that taking yourself home, laying down, snacking on your favorite food while watching your favorite movie is self -care. Self-care is bubble baths and face masks. Self-care is painting and dancing and writing your heart out. Self-care is anything that makes space for you to get acquainted with your heart. It’s taking time to release that breath you’ve been holding for weeks now because your best friend needed you to talk her through her breakup or your little brother needed you because the family dog passed away and your boss needed all the time you would’ve poured into your mental health for a big presentation. Self-care is taking time to release, unclench your jaw, exhale, drop your shoulders and just be with yourself for one solitary, soft moment.


Growth is the polar opposite. Growth is strenuous. Growth takes courage. If you are seeking growth, I won’t ever tell you to go home light a couple of candles and put on a facemask. Rather, I will tell you to gear up for war. I will warn you about having to splice your heart open. I will advise you to dissect every emotional bone in your body. I will give you permission to cry until your lungs run out of oxygen. Because growth is finally crawling out of the beasts belly and roaring back. Growth is claiming a throne that has always been yours but you needed time to see your worthiness. Growth is recovery. Growth is crawling, running, moving at whatever means possible, toward victory.

The Confusion

The two are couldn’t be more different. I feel that there is a misconception floating around those putting self-help advice out into the world. Some influencers are prescribing self-care when you really need growth and healing. They are saying to mask-up and turn on Netflix and everything will turn out great. All the while, you really need to be emotionally responsible. You really need to cry until you’ve purged every unvoiced worry and stress. You really need to own your shit and give yourself a come to Jesus talk. You really need to curl up and be with yourself for a moment and remember that being abandoned does not translate into not showing up for loved ones in your life. You need to confront and heal your family history so that it stops interfering with your relationships. A face mask, candles, and a bath will not heal you emotionally.

All that I’m trying to convey to you are three things:

1) Self-care is unique to each individual

2) Growth/ emotional responsibility and self-care are polar opposites

3) Reflect inward before projecting outward. Be sure you’re coming to conflict with as much clarity as possible

I’m not claiming to know it all but I do know my experience. I’ve felt the differentiating border between self-care and growth. I’ve taken my time to absorb and reflect. I’ve taken my time to recover in order to speak of it in its purest, most honest light. I can’t say I’ve done it all right either and I can’t say that it has an end. It requires an enormous amount of trial and error. With that, if you need help, guidance or advice I’m here for it. Whether we’ve previously spoken or not I’m not going to shy away from helping you. Please contact me if that’s something you’re interested in.


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Chelsea Bartell

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Aside from writing and preaching emotional responsibility, Bartell enjoys hiking through the Rocky Mountains– insisting she’s an expert survivalist like…

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