Compartmentalization is a blessing and a curse for modern people. Advancements in technology have allowed us to control our environments to such an extent that we have cut ourselves off from the natural world. Advancements in focus and specialization have allowed us to have occupations that are so localized we don’t need to have any knowledge of the larger systems around us. Many of us can easily survive in a bubble of our own making. In some ways our ability to care for self has been empowered, but it comes at a price.
The problem is that if we narrow our focus too much, we lose connection with the surrounding ecosystem of factors that support our health and well being. We lose connection with vital resources or even with our own feelings and thoughts about the people and world around us. If we work for ourselves, we can even lose touch with basic rhythms like sleep and meal time. Self care is a context that requires connection with a larger ecosystem than ourselves alone. If we are not careful, we pay the price of isolation and cut ourselves off from the vital nutrients we need to live a good life.
Recognizing the context of the self is central to health. If we repeatedly ignore ourselves or others we risk a dangerous form of isolation. The context of self is both inside and outside, in our stories of the past and our imagings of the future. The context of self is the space in which we relate to all the differents parts of our personalities and the center from which we relate to others.
There are three key aspects to the care of self context. The first one is personal need. Your ability to recognize the context of your personal needs is…