Shall we respect ourselves—our body, our mind, our precious life? Let’s do. Let’s learn the skillful means of boundary-setting and taking time and continuous learning and rest.
But shall we put ourselves first? It depends on what you want. If you’re looking for happiness and liberation from suffering, then maybe not. Continuous obsession with how I feel and how I want to feel and closing the gap between the two can lead to more continuous obsession with that. The gap might be narrowed, but then what? If you are still plagued by a mind that needs to ‘fix’ every situation to meet your needs, you will never be free. Math will win and life will continue to vex you with its randomness, and its refusal to come into line with your personal standards and cravings.
The ‘self’ is a reified narrative of an experience so fluid, so deeply interconnected with infinite constituent parts that the self could be said to not even exist—at least not in the way we think it does. What’s to protect? An idea? A state of being? A preferred experience? What exactly are you caring for? What is it that you want? Are you getting it? Are you able to manifest it for yourself? Are you sure it’s not already there, just unnoticed?
In every moment there is a wellspring of stillness and ease. A pool of joyous energy and peace, waiting only for you to notice. How to notice? Stop doing everything else—even self care. There it is, alive and well.