Self-Care is a Political Issue

Self-care is not only a personal matter, but also a political issue.

It serves not only to preserve your mental and emotional health, to learn to defend yourself against abuse, exploitation, and violence from others, and to keep away from people who mistreat you. It's also a powerful tool for learning to care for the people who love you and care for you.

Self-care is a valuable tool for learning to relate to yourself from a philosophy of care, and for learning to use your power in a way that doesn't harm anyone. Both things always go hand in hand: care and self-care, because none of us can live well if the people around us are not living well either.

Happiness is political, meaning it's a collective matter: you cannot be happy if your people are not happy. I take care of myself to be well, and the better I am, the better I can take care of others, and the more I can contribute to the Common Good.

The idea of thinking about others in such an individualistic and narcissistic world is truly revolutionary.

Why are care practices revolutionary?

Because if we could organize our economy around them, the world would change in a radical way, from top to bottom.

Firstly, people who provide care would have dignified incomes, not like now: the vast majority of women who provide care are condemned to poverty and economic dependence on another family member, usually a man.

Secondly, if self-care is our responsibility, then care is a social responsibility shared by everyone: if we receive care in our childhood, adolescence, old age, and during certain periods due to accidents or illnesses (a considerable number of hours that our loved ones dedicate to caring for us), then all of us should be capable of reciprocating that care and contributing when we have energy and health. Right now, adulthood is solely dedicated to producing and consuming, and we don't have time to care for others.

Caring for and being cared for would be a collective right: States would have to work to ensure that no one is excluded from care, to eliminate suffering in the population, and to ensure the well-being of all citizens.

And what do we need in order to be able to provide care?

Time, energy, and income.

But also tons of empathy, generosity, altruism, and genuine love.

I imagine a world of care in which...

no baby would be separated from their mother at birth,

all of us could raise our own daughters and sons, instead of having to part from them a few weeks after birth,

mothers would receive care from the entire community during the postpartum period, instead of being alone with a baby that requires a lot of energy and full dedication,

everyone would have time to share in the family care of the elderly or members with disabilities or dependence,

companies wouldn't lay off pregnant women,

all of us could care for our children and elderly when they are sick.

we could recover from a painful death instead of having to go to work the day after burying your partner, your mother, your sister.

the most impoverished women wouldn't have to stop caring for their own children to care for the children of the middle and upper classes.

we would be provided with tools for self-care and care for others from school, to stop relationships of hatred, discrimination, and violence, and replace them with relationships based on respect, empathy, mutual support, emotional responsibility, and radical tenderness.

This is the world I desire and work for every day:

A world based on cooperation and solidarity, where everyone would have the time and income to care for themselves and others, a world built on networks of affection and care, oriented towards the Good Living.

That's why self-care and care are political: because they are collective, because they are loving, because they are subversive. They go from you to others, and from others to you, but they reach much further:

I take care of myself, I care for others, I receive care from others, I care for my community and my environment, I receive care from them, I care for animals, nature, and the planet.

Coral Herrera Gómez

Original en español: El Autocuidado es un asunto Político