This article was published on Best Self Media. View the original here.

There’s no shortage of self-care tips, protocols and mantras. But are they aligned with you? Can you summon the courage to define your own path?

I never had a real rebellious streak as a teenager. I had parents who were very cool in their own right, so I never really had anything to rebel against. Only one incident springs to mind on a night when I donned my mum’s pair of sexy boots on a family dinner date and had no idea why my dad went AWOL.

I admit though, rebellion always inspired me, I liked the idea of marching to the beat of my own drum, and raising an eyebrow or two. Since I didn’t have anything to really rebel against, the opportunity to rebel didn’t present itself but on the rare occasion.

My rebel desires didn’t take root until I learned what I wanted to fight for.

Fighting for possibilities, for a future, for your own knowing. Most of the fights I am prepared to make are fighting for something. While fighting is not always the answer, having a steadfast grit is sometimes the necessary option — one of the many paths to take to get to the place you desire. While it’s just one of the many tools in your toolbox, most of us are using it wrong.

When you fight against something, you only perpetuate the conflict. One of the hardest things for me to unlearn was my inner resistance to being told what to do, even when it was for my own good.

Self-care is surrounded by far too many ‘shoulds’. You should have…

  • The ability to wake up early (and naturally)
  • A mindfulness routine
  • A workout or movement practice
  • A creative outlet
  • Healthy relationships
  • Plain old happiness

And then there are the ‘should nots’. You shouldn’t…

  • Get addicted to caffeine
  • Excessively procrastinate (or should you?)
  • Be a control freak
  • Be obsessive about your body

But where’s the fun in that? Where was the exploration and the plain, simple ability to choose? Our desire for structure and routine is destroying our ability to choose for ourselves. If we are supposed to have this structure, don’t you think we would be doing it easily? I’m not so sure; I’m more in favor of the notion that we are supposed be different every day.

Let’s explore further.

First, understand that guilt and imminent failure are not real things — they are simply a judgment or emotion that we create from a result. You can’t fail at making choices, you simply make a new one. You could simply start your day by asking this question: Who am I today? And what grand and glorious adventure would I like to have? And then go about your day choosing, nurturing and creating yourself from there.

I would like to see this as a globally accepted way of living: Choosing consciously, instead of functioning on auto-pilot. Now that is rebellious living.

But if unforgiving routines and disciplined practices are no longer in the self-care vocabulary, how are we supposed to take care of ourselves? This is where the conversation gets interesting: What is self-care? To me, it’s the capacity to be everything I desire, crave, and need — for me. No reason needed, just a continual internal dialogue: I need this, I like this, I want this — I shall give it to myself.

  • You need a hug? Wrap yourself in a cozy blanket and be there for yourself.
  • You wake up feeling sore or sad? Have a good stretch session followed by digging into the coconut oil with a self-massage before hopping in the shower.
  • Seeking inspiration? Not feeling the ‘vibe’? Take yourself on a date-for-one to your favorite art gallery or watch a movie that inspires you.

Would you like to live in a community of people who are not needy, but instead are grateful, joyful, independent and a contribution?

I wonder what gift we would find ourselves being for others if we finally started providing ourselves with what we personally need? Popular opinion leans more towards the independent individual exuding a harsh exterior and anti-social agenda. But human spirit proves this theory wrong at almost every turn with stories of self-fulfilled people giving back as much as they can.

So, how do you start creating your own rebellious self-care without ascribing to routine?

Start creating a list to record the moments when you feel like you need something external — from simple things like a hug, to larger energies like companionship. It all goes down in the list.

Dr. Dain Heer says: “Any time you’re looking for external validation, it’s something in you, you need to acknowledge.” When you’re creating this list, you will end up creating a personalized prescription for yourself. This will help you realize that you are everything you need already – you just might need a few external props to assist you.

Step two is to gather your resources. Source the items that can contribute to your self-care library. These items, tools or ideas can help you curate the energies you want in your life. Some of my favorite resources include books, fine china teacups, a playlist of podcasts and audios, a few friends to reach out to, and a ridiculously white fluffy blanket that just makes me melt.

Then start putting it all in play. Whenever you’re down or having a moment, refer back to this list and choose something that calls out to you. Or ask yourself: What do I need right now that I’m not getting? Then see what intuitively comes up. If you can aim to do one thing from your list a day, that’s an incredible accomplishment in a world that values spending every second of your time on external activity.

You have heard it before and I’m corny enough to end on a cliché: Everything you need is inside of you. The nurturing and caring you crave – you actually need to be it for yourself. Take the space today to fill your life with more you, and screw everyone else (at least for 15 minutes!).  Then reemerge in the world ready to contribute and full of your own self-created care.

That is putting yourself first on the list of those that receive. I can’t think of anything more rebellious than that.