Self-care often takes a back seat to everything else. But to serve others, you need to make time to serve your own needs. Self-care is not something you have to earn. You owe it to yourself to give yourself the care you need to be the best version of you.
When we reach an optimal level of self-care, we become better at handling our emotions, navigating challenging situations, investing in our relationships with others, and recognizing the things that bring joy and fulfillment to our lives. In this article, Jay Shetty sits down with popular American rapper and BET and MTV Video Music Award (VMA) winner, Big Sean, to discuss why self-care is vital to your personal growth and how to find balance in your relationships.
Most External Things Begin Internally
The world is going through so much. People are searching for peace and rest in times of stress and struggle. Big Sean explains to Jay Shetty that he focuses on investing time in himself so he can stay balanced. “It's like the yin and the yang,” Big Sean explains to Jay Shetty. “Each of the parts of the yin-yang is what my life is trying to be. I’ve been trying to be stillness in the chaos.”
Big Sean believes most external things start internally. When we work on what’s on the inside, that will flow through to our actions and words. He uses daily meditation to keep himself grounded.Jay Shetty also meditates, using three types of meditation throughout his day: breath work, visualization and mantra.
“Breath work is for my body,” Jay Shetty shares with Big Sean. “If I feel like my body is tired, needs energy or needs to relax, I practice breath work. I also do visualization. If I'm going into a scenario that causes me anxiety or fear, I will visualize myself doing that process. The third type of meditation I do is mantra. Mantra, to me, is what connects me to the universe and my service to the world. I practice all three every morning, and each of them gives me a different practice and different benefits.”
No matter what style of meditation you practice, taking time for yourself can refresh your soul, clear your mind and lift your vibrations to a higher level. “It's like a menu in the sense of when you go to eat at a restaurant, you don't want to eat the same thing every day,” Jay Shetty explains. “One day you feel like you need a little bit of this. Another day, you need a little bit of that. I think we have to look at meditation the same way. Maybe you need to do anxiety meditation or you need to do a connection or forgiveness meditation. Perhaps you need one for empathy. You can choose what you need.”
Be Open to Possibilities and Options
Do you ever find yourself hyper-focused on something you want to achieve to the point that you become rigid in your thinking? You are unwilling to entertain other ideas or possibilities because you’re so set on how, when and why you want to achieve your goal. “When you're so caught up on what you want and it's so specific, you’re closing out all those other possibilities,” Big Sean tells Jay Shetty. “It's important to not get so specific. With my meditations, I just ask for the greater good or for whatever is best for me and my happiness. That's where the real richness is.”
“We're told today to be specific about what we want,” Jay Shetty agrees. “The challenge is when you get too specific, you can't see what's in front of you.When situations feel out of your control, remember everyone around you is going through something. When we take the time to work on the internal and external parts of ourselves, our focus is directed away from the anxiety of things we can't change. We’ll be able to focus more on the things we can change. It allows us to handle challenging situations. “It's like having armor on,” Big Sean explains to Jay Shetty. “You're going through the storm, but the layers protect you from harm.”
Jay Shetty loves the idea of not being too specific because it releases you from your own insignificant goals. He explains if he got everything he asked for, he would not be where he is today. “I wouldn't be here today,” Jay Shetty explains. “My goals were way too small. My ideas were way too small. The universe, God, and energy had way bigger plans for me than I had for myself.”
If you want something, put it out there, but be willing to pivot when other opportunities come into your life. It doesn’t mean you can't have a specific desire and a plan to get there. You just need to be open to what the universe offers you.
How often do you practice gratitude? Is it something you only do when a good thing happens, or do you practice it daily?
Big Sean starts his day with gratitude. He is grateful each morning he wakes up and gets to face a new day. Jay Shetty agrees and feels gratitude is a multiple-times-a-day practice important in all situations. “If everything in my schedule went to plan, no one would hear about it,” explains Jay Shetty. But if everything in my schedule did not go to plan, I would tell everyone my flight got delayed or I missed eating my lunch. It’s easy to overlook the greatness and gifts in our lives when everything goes to plan. We expect things to happen, and when you wish for something to happen, you stop feeling gratitude for it.” Expecting things should just happen is a recipe for disaster. Nothing is guaranteed, not even tomorrow. So next time you see the good, point it out. Tell your spouse you’re thankful for what they do for you. Tell your employees or coworkers they are doing a great job. Be grateful you woke up to see another day. When people feel appreciated, they continue to repeat the behavior you recognized them for. Think of gratitude as confetti and sprinkle it everywhere you go.
Self Care is Not Selfish
The world is facing so many challenges. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and confused about how you can help. The best way to help is to take care of yourself so you can present the best version of you to the world. If you’re a mess, you can't help fix the mess you see in the world. “When I lived as a monk, I learned that if we are not trying to be purified, who are we to help cleanse anything?” Jay Shetty says. “So how can you cleanse something externally if you're not purifying internally? It's not possible. The whole point of self-care and internal purification is to help detox and cleanse externally so you can be of service to others.”
Self-care is the opposite of selfishness. You are preparing yourself to put your best foot forward and strengthen your faith and ability to affect change in different situations. “When you have faith, it is like an invisible bridge that you can just walk across,” explains Big Sean to Jay Shetty. “You don't see how you're going to get across, but you know it's there. You step off the cliff where you don't see anything, and you don’t fall. That's what faith is, and that's where we have to have each other as a society. We need to realize that the more conscious we are and the more we work on ourselves, the more steps we're taking to get to the other side of things.”
Permit Yourself the Things You Deserve
How do you find a balance between the things you have to do and the things you want to do? Do you put conditions on the things you want to do, using them only as a reward IF you do everything else on your list?
If you don't think you deserve time for self-care, you need to change your thinking. If you don’t feel you deserve joy, rest, or fun, you don't allow yourself to feel those feelings. Find a balance that works for you. Rethink your schedule and add time for self-care. When you schedule it into your day, you won't feel like you need to do something else before making time for yourself.
“When it comes to self care, you can set a schedule,” Big Sean explains. “But there are times where you're going to have to wake up earlier or meditate later on in the day. You may not even get a chance to, but that's the beauty of it. There are days where I am exhausted and don't do anything. You deserve those days to be lazy.”
When you are headed in the right direction and are taking care of yourself, you will feel the difference. Be disciplined about the things that bring you joy.
Clear the Roadblocks
Everyone has baggage. Whether it's past relationships or traumas from childhood, those things have a hand in shaping you into who you are. For Big Sean, the worry of there never being enough money was a blockage he had to release. “I used to worry about money,” Big Sean tells Jay Shetty. “Just like you can inherit your parents’ hair, or eyes, you can also inherit someone's fears and beliefs that aren't in alignment with your own, and you feel very conflicted. You may not even realize it. But it's important to do the work on yourself to break those generational curses. When you pass it on, it’s not just the next generation. You pass it on to the people around you, your friends and your family.”
Don’t Give Up on You
Don’t give up on yourself. Whether you are at rock bottom or reaching for the top, there is always room for growth, and you are worth the time and effort it takes to curate the best version of yourself that you can. “There's no such thing as losing if you don't stop,” Big Sean explains. “It's only just learning, developing and getting experience. You are sharpening the sword to be more of a master.”
More From Jay Shetty
Listen to the entire On Purpose with Jay Shetty podcast episode with Big Sean on “Why Self Care is Not Selfish and How To Find Balance in Any Relationship” now in the iTunes store or on Spotify. For more inspirational stories and messages like this, check out Jay’s website at jayshetty.me.
Take my new quiz to discover your deeper purpose.Take the Quiz
Looking for greater meaning? This quiz shows you how to live with purpose every day.Take the Quiz