As we get older, I think it is important to constantly redefine and challenge your identity. Who we think we are based on cultural conditioning or past experiences may be completely deviant from who we strive to become. For me, I defined my identity based on being nurturing, caring, and selfless.
I am the friend people turn to when they need advice, I am the daughter that is there for my parents when they need support emotionally, and I am the person that people rely on to be “there”. This idea of who I am has become so strong that I have let it be the most important definition of my identity in the expense of my own well-being. I put others in front of me because, fixing other people’s mess is easier than dealing with my own. I take care of everyone else empathizing with their situation and internalizing their pain. What I want to do or what I need to do is an afterthought that I save for when I have time. Being in tune with my emotion always comes secondary to those around me who rely on me for advice, love or support.
As much as I love being this nurturing person and I consider it a gift, excess of something is never good. It needs balance like everything else. I cannot internalize everyone else’s pain to the point that I cannot feel my own feelings. I cannot focus my life on “saving” others or improving their life that my own life goes astray. I need to respect myself to honor my own time. Being “selfish” seems to be viewed as something completely negative but, respecting your own time is self-honoring rather than selfish.
So, I encourage you to constantly redefine who you are to keep yourself balanced. Some values are important to us that we hold on to forever. I will always be the caring, nurturing, and a giving person. It is something that I am proud of but, I will also hold myself accountable when I find the balance tipping. I will prioritize myself to be able to care for others so, I don’t become resentful, angry or bitter. I will walk my own path and create identities that are more than just these limited value systems.
If you’re living in 2018 – you have probably heard how important self-care is. As the stigma towards mental health issues slowly decreases and there is more of a focus on taking care of yourself – it has created a market for self-care apps. I personally love and use many as a part of my daily routine. Ranging from the default “Health” app on my iPhone to Calm, Headspace, and Mend. All of these apps play a role in making my life a bit easier and my cell phone an actual productive and a healthy tool for my life.
This got me thinking in regards of the exciting trend of increased self-care apps in the market. According to Tech Crunch, top 10 self-care apps in the U.S. earned $15 million in combined iOS and Android revenue. The projected growth in self-care apps in 2018 were listed as 804 for iOS and 2,640 for Android. This focus on mental health, self-care, and mindfulness appears to be a trend that is being noticed by Apple and other companies as well. Personally, as someone who is oversaturated with content from Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms, having Apps that allow you to disconnect from that space and take care of yourself is really revolutionary and innovative. I believe the trend of increase in this space will continue as more people realize the importance of self-care as well as disconnection from constant stimulation from social media platforms. In addition, various researchers have also cited passive use of Facebook (i.e. mindless scrolling we’re all guilty of) can cause a mental health risk. 
With this surge of the demand (people willing to pay for or actively seek for self-care) and the need (more threats to mental health such as social media as well as constant stimulation) – are Venture Capital firms willing to back these type of apps?
It turns out that the VC world has been aware of this market and investment in mental health space has jumped from 7 companies in 2009 to 30 deals as of June 2018. One of the biggest player in this space is the Calm app which raised $27 million in Series A funding from Insight Venture Partners as well as Ashton Kutcher’s Second Ventures. According to Pitchbook, 2018 was on pace to seeing more than $500 million funding invested in the mental health tech space. 
This is a really exciting time for both users of the various apps as well as companies that are providing these products. A shift towards self-care can only benefit society and increase overall social good. I am looking forward to seeing where the VC funding will be like at the end of 2018 for this space as well as how revenue models work for these companies. I am sure it will take balancing between creating more access but, also creating a profitable products to ensure continuance in VC support.
Self-love comes up over and over again when you’re trying to get over a heartbreak. People will tell you that to love someone else – you must love yourself. It is cliché but, for a reason. Self-love is crucial to not only fixing your heartbreak but, also to being at peace with yourself. If you think about it, you are the most constant thing in your life. You have your family and your community but, your relationship to these external factor depend solely on your relationship to yourself. We should put as much effort to our relationship to self as we do to external relationships.
Recently, I watched a video by Teal Swan on YouTube. She talks about how self-love is the shortest path to enlightenment. She encourages everyone to ask this one question whenever you are faced with a decision: “What would someone who loves themselves do?” This question should be the guiding factor in how we treat ourselves.
What would someone who loves themselves do after a heartbreak? Would they wallow in their pain or would they try to move on gracefully? What would someone who loves themselves do with their finances? Would they spend recklessly or only make mindful purchases?
This question can be a guiding factor in how we move in life. When we treat ourselves with kindness and love – we can move on from the negative to our purpose. I plan on using this question with many decisions I face.
One thing I will say about this is that the answer to that question isn’t always the easy thing. You might be tempted to answer that question by saying “someone that loves themselves would take a bath and drink wine every night!” J ….and sometimes that is the answer. But, I think the answers might not always be what we want to hear. It might be difficult things we face. It might be choosing to make that cold call, choosing to finishing that assignment we procrastinated on, choosing to confront someone, and moving away from things that do not serve us.
Good luck with your self love journey.
Teal Swan’s video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQHv75ahYDQ