One Pagan’s Ethics and Self-Care

We are all worthy of care.

No one is inherently undeserving. Self-care is a part of self-love, which then becomes the basis for care and love for others. Even those who have committed terrible crimes are worthy of and benefit from tending physical and emotional needs. Thou art God/dess/x does not distinguish between people.

We must tend to ourselves in order to tend to others.

Just as airlines remind us to fasten our own mask before helping others, so must we take care of ourselves first before helping others. Your interactions with your children will be less than ideal if you are short on sleep. You can’t produce your best work if you’re stewing over an unresolved fight. Your attention to a loved one will be diluted when you’re starving because you skipped a meal.

There is enough.

This is a common bit of pagan belief. If there are enough resources, love, time, energy, and so on, then it is not selfish to care for oneself. We are not taking what someone else needs. Pagans tend to view the world as multiplicative rather than divided. That is, doing good for ourselves increases the amount of good in the world, often in unforeseen and exponential ways, rather than decreasing the good available.

Martyrdom ain’t pretty.

While there are plenty of pagan tales of sacrifice, the general sense among pagans is that outright martyrdom is unnecessary. Martyrs, whether physical or metaphorical, experience an erasure of self. This is at odds with the idea that the self is sacred. In our daily lives, we do not typically need to make the sort of sacrifice play that, for example, our armed forced do. There are other options available to us.

I believe that we live in a world of abundance and that it is our responsibility to take care of ourselves as part of taking care of the world. What do you think about self-care? Share in the comments.


About Melissa ra Karit

I'm a queer, poly, genderqueer Witch. I'm a sex-positive feminist, an activist, and a writer. I believe that when we attend to our individual good, we approach the world with good in our hearts and change the world for the better. Opinions expressed here are solely my personal opinions, and do not represent the views of any organization with which I am affiliated.
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3 Responses to One Pagan’s Ethics and Self-Care

  1. Sunsmith says:

    You are so right!

  2. jainabee says:

    There is indeed enough, and plenty! I am often amazed at which parts of society I have (usually unconsciously) chosen to keep, when i have rejected so many parts which did not work for me. The idea that it is wrong to consider and take care of one’s own needs—and desires—is one i keep having to confront over and over. I have years of experience which show, clearly and without a doubt, how much more i can offer in service when i have taken care of myself. And when i trust that i will take care of myself as needed, i increase my capacity to serve joyfully.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Compassion starts with self-compassion! You are so correct with the notion that the more we love ourselves and care for ourselves…essentially, the more powerful and loving we can be for others.

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