Everything you Need to Know about Self love vs Selfishness

Whenever I read the comments on my self-love posts I am always left a little surprised by the number of people who feel that self-love is not for them. There are many different reasons for this, but a common excuse is they don’t want to be selfish. So many people (moms in particular) feel guilty about taking time for themselves because they are convinced somehow that showing themselves love will take away from others in their lives.

Those same people are often the ones who share stories of how stressed and exhausted they are. They are the ones who need self-love in their lives the most!

Self-love is something everyone deserves and needs in their life. Unfortunately, many of us have to relearn what healthy self-love looks like as society, our parents and peers may have given us an unrealistic view of what self-love and care really means. Self-love and self-indulgence often become blurred through our materialistic blinders.

Self-love is not greedy, it is not selfish and you do need it.

I have decided to clear up any confusion for the many people out there who are confused about where selfishness begins and self-love ends. I hope that this can provide you with the motivation to bring more guilt free self-love into your own life and create a balance that benefits you and your relationships in the long term.

Self-love fills you up and balances you

Eating healthy, exercising, beauty routines, relaxation and personal hobbies are all forms of self-love that we need to make time for. If you think of your experiences in life as a bank account then you can think of these little self-love activities as deposits into that personal account. The more you deposit the more you can give when others need a loan from you. You feel me?

Have you ever been so exhausted that when a friend comes to you looking for a “withdrawal” you can’t give them anything in return? Excuse the metaphors here but making healthy deposits will fill you up and help balance you when other stresses come to take away from you, which is a benefit to you and others in the long term.

Selfishness is over indulgent

Shopping therapy, drinking too much, and eating too much are all forms of overindulgence that we do in a feeble attempt to give ourselves a form of diluted love. This is, of course, an illusion and only leads to more distraction and results in the temporary filling of a void.

We overindulge as a way to grasp for something that momentarily makes us feel good. In the long term, it only depletes our sources, financially, physically, and emotionally. Not to mention selfishness and overindulgence have a huge effect on our relationships. Have you ever had a friend who talks non stop about themselves and nothing else? This is an example of someone who is overindulging and that kind of selfishness affects everyone not just that person in the most negative way.

Self-love radiates outward

Self-love is not about the self. Not really.

Self-love is just love and the more you give yourself the more you will be able to give others. A good way to compare self-love and selfishness is to look at the effect that loving yourself has on others. If you take care of your body your energy is higher to do things with others, play with your kids, hike with friends. If you take care of your mind and spirit you can give solid helpful advice to loved ones. Loving yourself will be a motivator to others around you, they will see your glow and become inspired to let go of clinging negative habits of their own and embrace their own self-love.

Selfishness channels inward

The opposite of this is the inward effect that selfishness brings. When you are being selfish you are grasping for stability and more for yourself only. You have lost the ability to care for yourself in a healthy way and are channeling bad vibes towards yourself and others. The wrong people will be attracted to you causing further depletion and the right kinds of people will want to steer clear. You will miss the ability to feel happiness for others because your selfishness will only allow for focus on yourself in the most negative way.

Self-love opens new paths

When you love yourself you will know yourself better and finally, make friends with yourself. When you know yourself you know what you want, and your focus is not scattered. The universe will help you out here because you will not miss out on opportunities that are right for you. Maybe a new job or the perfect relationship was right in front of you but because you did not know yourself you missed the opportunity. Self-love opens you up to the possibilities that are right for you, furthering your happiness.

Selfishness leads to dead ends

Selfishness will skew all paths available to you. When you don’t know yourself and love yourself for who you are then you might be looking at what others are doing and measuring your opportunities by others standards. Meaning a lot of missed opportunities leading to the kind of full life you deserve.

Self-love feeds compassion

A huge part of loving yourself is accepting and loving the things about yourself that you don’t like so much. By accepting your mistakes and not beating yourself up over your flaws, you will begin to cultivate compassion for yourself and in turn are able to have compassion for others. Seeing the flaws in others, their pain and hardships and feeling empathy rather than judgment.

Selfishness feeds greed

The definition of greed is an intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food.

Selfishness and greed are the same depleting beast. This day and age we see way too many people claiming greed as a form of self-love. Buying more, needing more, eating more, in an attempt to care for themselves in some warped way.

Selfishness and greed are not just related in the physical sense but also emotionally. Selfishness in relationships of all kinds is a form of greed that hurts everyone it touches.

Self-love benefits everyone

As mentioned earlier with the bank account metaphor. Showing yourself self-love allows you to be your best self when others need you. You are a more compassionate and loving mother, son, friend or partner. Self-love begins with you but it ends with everyone else in your life. The compassionate and genuine attention and love you show yourself is how you will interact with everyone in your life. It is a door that does not close and is open to all parts of your life and even the world.

Selfishness benefits no one

An illusion may get you by for a little while until you begin losing your friends, your job, or your finances. Being overindulgent and needy will not help you the way that you truly need and will not help anyone in your life either. You will only further confuse yourself and others and help lead those you love blindly down a path of unhappiness.

I hope this helps clear up any confusion about the meaning of self-love vs selfishness and empowers you to bring more guilt free self-love into your life.



  1. lakeafton | 20th Jul 17

    You have it just right. You must care for yourself first. Think airlines, “If the oxygen drops, put your own mask on first so you can help others.” Without being able to breathe you cannot help anyone else. This is true in all parts of life. The Bible tells us to love others as we love ourselves. If we don’t love ourselves we have nothing to give.

    • stephaniewp | 20th Jul 17

      I totally agree. So many people forget that it is that simple!

  2. Reginald | 20th Jul 17

    This was very helpful! Ive always been a lifestyle blogger, but i forgot to include advice on the most important thing, self love. Your post really inspired me, thank you for sharing.

  3. David Harris | 20th Jul 17

    Everyone was spot on! Loved it.

  4. Nicole of What Nicole Wore | 20th Jul 17

    Thank you for sharing the difference! I was just chatting with a group of girlfriends about how the line can seem blurry but often isn’t actually.

  5. Fred | 20th Jul 17

    Learning to love ourselves is the greatest love of all, as the song goes. You cannot love others if you do not love yourself. You cannot achieve your full potential if you do not love yourself.

  6. Corinne & Kirsty 🌸 (@corinnekirsty) | 21st Jul 17

    I always wondered what the difference was but never gave it too much thoughts anyway. But these advice are great

  7. Valerie Robinson | 21st Jul 17

    I’ve been learning that self love and self care are not selfish acts. This post puts a lot into perspective and gave me a lot to think about. There is truly a fine line.

  8. franckxethee | 21st Jul 17

    We really need to love ourselves first before we can be open to love others. Self love radiates as it keeps us in a better disposition.

  9. Jojo Hua | 21st Jul 17

    I love this so much. I tend to always do everything for other people because I felt that if I didn’t, then I’d be being selfish. But this isn’t true. Other people also have their responsibilities and I am allowed to put myself first too. Thank you so much for this.

    • stephaniewp | 21st Jul 17

      I am glad this resonated with you. It is so important to find that balance between time for yourself and time for others.

  10. Ritu | 23rd Jul 17

    Love all your thoughts here and totally agree! If we don’t love ourselves, how can we ever expect others too!

  11. You Can Always Start Now | 23rd Jul 17

    Great post – and needed. I think so many people use “instant gratification” to make them feel better but it is short term and so short sighted.

  12. Lucy Mitchell | 23rd Jul 17

    I love this post so much! Thanks for sharing x

  13. angelanoelauthor | 23rd Jul 17

    I appreciate that you called out that selfishness and greed are the same things. When I’m being selfish I don’t care about the impact my actions have on others. Self-love embraces the theory of “enough.” Being enough, taking just enough etc. Selfishness says, never enough. I can feed the beast of selfishness forever and never be satisfied. But loving myself means giving myself what I need, and knowing the difference between taking just to take. You explained the differences between the two mindsets beautifully. Thank you for the post.

    • stephaniewp | 24th Jul 17

      Thank you! To me the differences are easy to see but I have heard many people argue the differences in the past. I wanted to add some of my own little piece of clarity.

  14. emfletche | 23rd Jul 17

    …”Learning to love yourself, is the greatest love of all” – the wise words of Whitney could be your soundtrack accompaniment to this blog. Lots to think about Steph 🙂

  15. Gabe Burkhardt | 23rd Jul 17

    Thank you for the timely reminders. As you allude to so well, Self-love is a discipline that requires diligent attention.

  16. Yentl | 25th Jul 17

    The perfect clarification of what self love truly is! I will be sharing this around 🙂

  17. Dinesh | 25th Jul 17

    Quite true.. Greed is essentialy what separates self love from selfishness

  18. phyliciamarie | 31st Jul 17

    I agree with on a lot of points. people are afraid to exercise self love for fear of being selfish, without knowing that self love leads to selflessness. I think my favorite part about this article is how you said self love radiates outward.

    • stephaniewp | 31st Jul 17

      Thank you! I really feel that when self-love is done right it radiates outward for everyone to enjoy.

  19. kaitlindcuevas | 13th Sep 17

    This post is as close to perfect as it gets! I’m soooo on the same page as you in regards to the importance of self-love! I love how you so clearly spelled out the difference between loving yourself and being selfish.

    – Kaitlin

    • stephaniewp | 14th Sep 17

      thank you so much, kaitlin! that really means a lot to me. I am proud of how this post turned out. I am glad that I managed to get my point out clearly to those reading it. Thanks again for your support and kind words!

  20. Mary | 13th Sep 17

    Self love is such an important aspect of being a good Mom. If you don’t take care of yourself, your whole family feels it. I’ve learned this the hard way several times before. I love your point of self love versus selfishness. It’s so important to recognize their differences.

    • stephaniewp | 14th Sep 17

      Thank you! I am glad you found it useful. It really is important for moms especially new moms. I know many people who throw themselves into the role and try to be the best mom by spreading themselves too thin. That is never good in the longer term, children are so sensitive they can really feel that stress. Even just 5 minutes alone doing something for ourselves is such a big help 🙂

  21. Brooke | 14th Sep 17

    Everything about this was so so so SO spot on. I feel like I need to print this out and stick it to my fridge. So well written. Thank you for this! Xo

    • stephaniewp | 14th Sep 17

      Thank you so much for the compliment! I tried my best to relay the differences clearly because way too many people have it confused. People don’t understand self-care and self-love with a little more perspective I think more people would get involved.

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