A few days ago, I came across these screenshots of a Tumblr post on Twitter. I can’t be the only one confused by content from one social media being posted on another, can I? I also can’t be the only one who read this with raised eyebrows.
At first, when I read the words “self care isn’t a bath bomb”, I was almost offended because to me it is. When I am sick or stressed out, I take a bath with a Lush bath bomb. This is one way I practice self care when I need it. Those quotes seem to suggest taking care of yourself isn’t self care. “Self care includes any intentional actions you take to care for your physical, mental and emotional health,” according to a page on California State University’s website.
Self care is hugely important for people struggling from mental illnesses, as I think the post tries to stress; however, it is just as important for people who do not have mental illnesses (which is what the post suggested is not the case).
It would be easy to read that post, assume it as truth and act on your knowledge of that assumed truth. This is an example of the importance of critical thinking. If I accepted that post as truth, I would live under the impression that I never practice self care. This is false, and I know that because I thought critically about what I read.
I gave critical thinking a whirl last week, when I wrote about the viral campaign It Was Never A Dress. At surface level, I didn’t see anything wrong with the campaign. However, the campaign’s basic premise didn’t make a lot of sense to me – and as I thought critically about why it didn’t make sense, I realized that to me there was something wrong with it.
It’s not just people who try to assert their opinions as fact. Advertising and media are often presented as absolute, so it’s hard to question why women are being sold a million new hair products or why a certain group of people have a certain opinion. When we think critically about things we read, hear, and see, we are able to make individual decisions about whether we really believe in what we’re being exposed to – and more importantly, why we believe or disbelieve it.
Thinking critically is the difference between blindly believing in something and being an independent person with your own opinions. There is, though, a fine line between a healthy amount of critical thinking and an outright disregard for authority when you question everything.
Finding a balance between those two things is important. It is what allows us to move forward as a society, and function as unique individuals (and not feel guilty using bath bombs).