Are you stingy with your love? (+Win a retreat!)

This spring marked the 19-year anniversary of my mom’s passing. Healthy and active, she died at age 60 from congestive heart failure as a result of a sudden, serious case of the flu leaving behind six children ages 19 to 34.

She’s been on my mind–and in my dreams–a lot lately. I really miss her.

I often wonder how different our family life might have been had my mom known about the practice of self-care—an art and science which has had a profound and life-altering effect on who I am today (read 7  Self-Care Rituals I can’t Live Without).


My mom was a beautiful, bright, artistic, sensitive and highly creative only child. She was plagued on and off for many years with clinical depression that arrived after the birth of her second child.  And she was stingy with her love.  I know she loved us and although she could be affectionate at times (especially when we were young kids), she expressed this in small amounts—like precious squares of 70% organic dark chocolate. In retrospect, I realize it must have felt like a herculean task to try and outwardly lavish us with love when she was struggling with finding compassion for herself.

Are you stingy with your love? I think at times, we all are.

I’ve noticed ways in which I can be: when I put “getting things done” over giving/receiving love; when I see fault before I acknowledge good; when I hear myself say “I’ll give my son or husband my full attention as soon as I ….. (fill in the blank),” when I embrace someone I care for and then pull away a little too fast–already moving on to the next thing on my to-do list. Or when I see an inconvenient time or place when my love is being called forth—maybe at the grocery store, on the playground or in a business setting—and I sweep it aside, staying safe and playing it cool.

They say routine lulls the brain to sleep. Most of us move through the day on auto-pilot—succumbing to our habitual ways of seeing and being. But I want to stay awake. I want to make sure that I’m not rationing my love, saving it for the right time or the right place or the right conditions.  I want to keep nurturing and practicing loving kindness towards myself every single day so that I not only have enough love to fill my well, but it overflows and spills out into my home, the streets of my neighborhood, my city and beyond.

All the great philosophers and spiritual teachers say love is the most powerful force on our planet. But doesn’t its power only grow when we learn to freely and generously share it as often as we possibly can?  I’m planning to challenge myself throughout May to see how many ways I can share my love, my compassion and my positive energy with others (read more about my I Choose Love PSA) —will you join me?

LIVE IN TEXAS & WANT TO WIN A RETREAT WITH ME MOTHER’S DAY WEEKEND? Renew, replenish and recharge Friday, May 10th 9-4 on 19 acres right in the heart of San Antonio, TX.  Join me at the stunning, peaceful, spacious Cathedral Park for our New Way of Being: Women’s Self-Renewal Retreat (Mother’s Day Weekend). To enter to win this one-day retreat (a $199 value) share below in the comments your response to “What does self-care mean to me?”  We’ll announce a winner at random this Friday, May 3rd. Know you want to come and bring a friend? Check out our bring-a-friend special but don’t delay-this always sells out; learn more.   Check out all my upcoming retreats here including a just-announced Saturday, June 8th, Brevard, NC retreat, just outside of Asheville!


Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance coach/author/speaker and self-care evangelist Renée Peterson Trudeau. Passionate about helping men and women experience balance through the art/science of self-care, her work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, US News & World Report, Spirituality & Health and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining self-renewal groups based on her award-winning self-care curriculum.  She is the author of three books on life balance and mindfulness including the award-winning The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 17-year-old son. More on her background here.

~Did this post speak to you? Please support your friends and family and share it!~





  1. To me self-care starts with cultivating an allegiance to myself. And then believing I am worthy of giving myself exactly what I need–that “my ordinary self is enough”–I don’t have to do anything special to be deserving of getting my needs/desires met.

  2. Mindy Bass says

    As a teacher and single mother of two, I find it hard to consistently practice self care. I am working towards treating myself better, quieting what I call my “middle school critic”- the negative voice in my head. I have begun consistently meditating and that has helped a lot. When possible I take our dogs hiking to get outside and move around in nature.

    • thanks Mindy for your beautiful share!

    • You are a wonderful person Mindy who definitely deserves a break. Mindy is the person who introduced me to daily meditations and I hope she can join you for the retreat. Renee-I have been reading your books and articles over the past few years. I am working on self care which for me means practicing yoga, walking during sunrise and sunset to appreciate every day as well as journaling my feelings and learning how to love and accept myself . You have helped so many. Thanks.

    • Thank you for your share, Mindy!

  3. Therese Yvonne Trahan-Edussuriya says

    Self-care starts with recognizing what I need. Is it quiet time alone or time with a good friend ? Sometimes it’s small, taking a moment to just be. Journaling always helps me get in touch and in tune. And not overloading my schedule with too much to do. If I don’t get something done today, there’s still tomorrow. My life has elements that are highly stressful but I’ve created a lifestyle that allows me TIME without imposed deadlines. Making time for self is essential to self-care. I also listen to the voice of my spirit, telling me what I need. Sometimes that’s sunshine and fresh air, sometimes it’s to allow my energy to flow through dance, sometimes it’s eating certain foods, sometimes it’s to laugh (watching stand-up comedy is a part of my self-care). I would love to attend the retreat coming up in San Antonio in a couple of weeks. I can’t afford it, so I hope I win.

  4. Self-care is allowing myself time to relax without feeling guilty. Drinking tea, taking a nap, basking in solitude . . .

  5. Self care means to me first acknowledging what the void is, which is not always clear, and fulfilling it by taking the time for self renewal, physically and spiritually.

  6. Self care means putting my phone down, turning off all electronics and sitting in silence while drinking a cup of coffee.

  7. Self care means pausing and truly checking in with myself — and not being anxious about taking the time to do so, because I know that when I care for myself I take care of the rest of my world — whether work and relationships — so much better.