The Self-Care Trap How To Actually Care for Yourself on Your Journey to Improving

Don’t fall for the propaganda

Ayodeji Awosika
12 min readAug 12, 2020


The following is an excerpt of my book — Real Help: An Honest Guide to Self-Improvement

Self-care is crucial to keeping your energy high and sanity intact on the path to improving your life, but the idea of self-care can quickly become a trap.

And tons of people are promoting this perverted version of a useful idea.

They go by many descriptions — the self-care guru, meditation sage, the Buddhist hipster, the “treat yourself” enabler. Their goals and opinions are the exact opposite of the prototypical gurus.

Instead of telling you to pull yourself up by the bootstraps, they pretend bootstraps don’t exist.

Instead of telling you you’re weak unless you’re successful, they tell you that you’re strong because you’re not successful. Instead of telling you to hustle 24/7, they tell you to reward yourself for doing nothing.

Both sides of the coin are wrong. As often happens, the answer lies in the gray.

The Happiness Dichotomy

There are two types of happiness, memory happiness, and experiential happiness.

Memory happiness answers the question “How has my life turned out so far?” If you have experiences in your past that boost your confidence, remind yourself of your worth, and confirm your identity as a successful person, you’ll have great memory happiness, fueling further success.

The opposite is also true. Lack of achievements lowers your self-esteem, and self-care isn’t going to raise it to the level you need to truly feel good about yourself. I meditate daily, journal, eat healthy, treat myself, etc., but I also work on goals that have meaning to me.

This idea that you can use mindfulness to remove your need to achieve goals is false. Maybe you can pull it off like the Dalai Lama, but odds are the pangs of desire will stay with you forever.

I’m not attacking the idea of caring for yourself. I’m attacking the idea that you can live a full life without achievement being a central piece of it. By achievement, I don’t mean making…



Ayodeji Awosika

Learn how to become a top Medium writer and make a living writing here —