Are You Selfish?

Is self-love selfish?  

I recently had a conversation with a girlfriend who told me she thought self-love was selfish.  (I almost fell backwards in my chair (but that’s besides the point)).  

I have to vehemently disagree with her on this one, but first let’s talk about what self-love actually looks like.  To me, self-love is far beyond taking bubble baths and getting pedicures (though those can be helpful too!).  Self-love looks like self-respect.  Self-love looks like self-valuing.  Self-love looks like self-appreciation. Self-love looks like doing the things you want to do, when you want to do them, and how you want to do them without fear of what other people will think.   

But what do those things really look like?  In day-to-day real life.  In the ins and outs of dealing with people who may not be on the same self-development train.  In the ups and downs of navigating your current world? 

In my incessant pursuit to become the best version of myself possible, this is what I have found it looks like: 

  • Putting yourself first even when it’s not “acceptable” to do so.  This can mean declining to help a friend re-organize her closet (or maybe even move!) or saying no to a family dinner.   
  • Making sure your ducks are in a row before you help others organize theirs (see closet example above).  
  • Doing the things that you WANT to do (like maybe taking a gentle yoga class even though all your friends are so into CrossFit right now).
  • Doing the things that FEEL good for you (I watched an episode of Say Yes to the Dress (am I the only one who still watches that show?!) the other day and this poor bride decided not to go with a dress that she had fallen in love with because her family/entourage didn’t like it.  Um hello, last time I checked, it’s your wedding not theirs).   
  • Not doing anything (anything!) that makes you go “UGH” or say to yourself “I really don’t want to do this, but I have to or I should”.  (And yes that means bills!  Paying bills is something you choose to do so you can have a roof over your head and food on the table.  If you didn’t want those things, you’d choose to be homeless.  And yes that sounds harsh, but it’s true, no?)  

So now imagine what your life would look and feel like if you really stopped doing all those things and stopped saying yes when you really meant no and started doing more of what you truly desire?  

Would you feel selfish?  (If you do, ask yourself what you’re gaining by feeling selfish because you’d be putting yourself first instead of second).  Or would you feel empowered, supported, loved-on, and respected?  And if you did feel those things, how would you in turn act or behave for the remainder of your day?  

My point here is the age old, fill your cup before you attempt to fill someone else’s is true but it’s not enough.  Because it’s so much more than that.  

It’s about loving on yourself enough to know that you matter.  It’s knowing that it is your purpose to do the things that you feel called to do and you cannot do them if you’re so busy running around helping other people do the things that they feel called to do!  It’s about knowing that you have a duty and a responsibility to yourself first, not because you matter more than anyone else does, but because you matter just as much.