Nov. 14, 2021

E137 Self-care Isn't Selfish | Mental Health Podcast

In this episode, it's another dive into my book Think Unbroken Understanding and Overcoming Childhood Trauma. I will give you a chapter of the book that was super meaningful that will create massive value in your life on your healing journey.
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In this episode, it's another dive into my book Think Unbroken Understanding and Overcoming Childhood Trauma. I will give you a chapter of the book that was super meaningful that will create massive value in your life on your healing journey. I share with you that “Self-care isn’t selfish.”

Self-care is profound, and I wrote this book a while ago and now reading it for the first time and thinking about all of the changes in my life and recognizing how much I've had to double down on self-care not only because of the state of the world but mental health shifts.

In this episode, I share how to identify what you need to do for yourself and understand who you are. I believe you will find healthy sources of self-care that will lead you to amazing changes in your life. Just focus, listen, and be ready to learn, and I will do my best to bring massive value to your life and your trauma healing journey!

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Self-care is how you take your power back. – Lalah Delia

There are so many scenarios in which people put themselves second. In order for you to fully realize who you're going to be, you are going to have to put yourself first. That may sound scary or even impossible but you are going to have to.

Self-care is not selfish and the most impactful self-care that you will do is make your physical, mental, and emotional health, your number one priority. You have to allow yourself time and that means taking as much of it as you need to be healthy and where you want to be.

Most childhood trauma survivors, learn at an early age to put themselves second, third, or last. We were not allowed to express our wants and needs. We were not allowed to freely speak our mind; question situations, smile, cry, laugh, be sick, be happy or enjoy childhood without experiencing abuse.

When children push back to counter abuse, they are met with more hostility and punishment. Keep crying and I will hit you harder. That might as well have been my family motto. I chose this example of my agency being taken away from me not only because I would be hit for crying or expressing myself but because it is a societal norm for boys, not to be a motive.

This is a prime example of how something as normal as crying is taken and our sense of self is silenced and replaced with adhering to the requirements of our abusers. I wasn't allowed to cry if I was sick, hurt, or being beaten.

My stepfather literally beat the ability to cry out of me and for decades, I thought I was a sociopath nothing including my own behavior, deaths of relatives and friends, or the chaos that I was cultivating and other people's lives created any kind of emotional response in me. I was totally and completely numb. Because I was taught to silence my wants, needs, and interests as a child and adolescent, I had to make hard choices and reacquaint myself with what I needed to have a full healthy life.

My self-care routine and regimen had to be based entirely on what I needed. Identifying what I needed to do, for care, for myself, was paramount. It was when I made a clear and concise decision to implement real self-care that I was able to make the biggest leaps and bounds and understand who I am.

Here is a list of self-care that is not selfish;

  • Going to therapy.
  • Leaving a partner to have the space to create change.
  • Be kind to yourself.
  • Sharing your wants, needs, and interests.
  • Saying no to things that you don't want to do.
  • Moving away from people who don't support you.
  • Putting yourself first.
  • Eating healthy.
  • Getting sober.
  • Going to the gym, yoga or exercising.
  • Meditation
  • Writing
  • Reading
  • Going on trips
  • Painting
  • Take walks, by yourself.
  • Sitting at a museum
  • Sleeping
  • Cleaning
  • Playing with puppies, or doing, whatever it is that makes you happy.

Putting yourself first in a healthy and thought-out way is a necessary part of the healing journey. There is growth and being uncomfortable, and you have to be of the mentality that you are willing to do whatever it takes for you to find health. Investing in yourself is self-care without that mentality, you are not going to move forward. Deciding to put yourself first, is not about burning bridges, hurting people, or running away, it's about running towards you, with people who support you in creating a new foundation. I had to uproot my entire life because I knew that Indiana was not going to be the place where I would find my healing.

The streets reminded me of the abuse that I suffered, the friends that I lost, and the pain that I felt every day. I had to leave everything and everyone behind to wipe the slate clean and focus, only entirely on myself for the first time in my life.

There were too many distractions in that place, too many bad relationships, too many spill drinks, and too many friends that didn't support my changes.

If not, for making the choice to leave Indiana, leave my relationship, close my businesses, drive across the country, implement all the healing practices that I mentioned earlier and fully embraced, the most intimate sides of myself, then you would not be reading this and my life would be much different. Nothing about making a complete 180-degree turn in your life is going to be easy and maybe you have to start at five degrees or 20, that's fine. It's not that you have to jump in headfirst, I didn't.

There were over two years of work that I put in before I finally made the decision to take the leap by leaving everything that I knew was home. It is your responsibility to find out who you are and to become that person and the only way you're going to do that is by putting yourself first.

Children are stripped of their agency and human rights when they are abused. Your trust, hope, love, compassion, honesty, empathy, and sympathy or taken away and replaced with fear, hurt, chaos, lies, pain, and the crushing weight of self-doubt. Different forms of self-care that help you better understand your present past and future are not selfish because it is through self-care that you are taking your life back.


Self-care at its base is about you. Care is about doing the things that you need to do to free yourself of stress, worry, anxiety, depression, and pain.

Finding and exploring healthy sources of self-care will lead you to amazing changes in your life.

It is also important to understand the reasons that you are utilizing certain self-care practices, it's easy to confuse care with avoidance.

Whenever participating in self-care, you have to ask yourself. Am I doing this to make myself better today or my doing this to avoid something?

I want you to write ten self-care ideas that you can implement now, that would make your life better.

Self-care is so profound and I wrote this book a while ago and now reading it for the first time in thinking about all of the changes in my life between then and now in a short period of time and recognizing how much I've had to double down on self-care not only because of the state of the world but mental health shifts. I will never say that I don't have to battle anxiety or depression or any of those things because that would be untrue and because I do, I have to double down on self-care every single day.

And sometimes that self-care is doing nothing and look, I think that it's very, very important that you give yourself the space to accept that sometimes doing nothing is self-care. We judge ourselves so often because we don't do all the things all the time, but long term that's just not viable.

Self-care is, how do I wake up when the alarm goes off every day without hitting it 10 times? Or journaling for 10 minutes in the morning? Reading five pages of a book? Going for that walk or taking that yoga class?

Self-care is also having a cup of tea by yourself or going to bed on time or taking a shower or simply putting on your shoes.

One of the biggest misinterpretations that I think happens right now is people believe that the only way that they are going to heal is by doing everything at once and I'm here to tell you my friend, that was not my experience at all. The way I got to where I am right now, was slow, steady, and methodical.

So I want you to carry that with you as you head into this exercise because one of the things that you can do is take a moment and just think about what self-care means to me and by doing these things, am I doing this to make my life better?


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Michael Unbroken


Michael is an entrepreneur, best-selling author, speaker, coach, and advocate for adult survivors of childhood trauma.