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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.