Self-Care versus Selfishness

Self-Care versus Selfishness December 15, 2014

It’s common in our culture to place others’ needs before our own. Many of us our taught from an early age that our needs are not as important as those around us, so we become accustomed to doing for others; sometimes as a loving gesture, sometimes to make ourselves feel good, and other times to meet an unquenchable thirst for approval.

2014-12_Woman Meditating
(c) Carl Studna

Some of us are taught that it’s selfish and indulgent to give to ourselves, so we shy away from any form of self-care. Others are raised believing that it’s a dog-eat-dog world, instilling an “Every Man/Woman For Themselves” attitude. Consequently, there seems to be a schism or a divide in our society, those that give too much without thinking of themselves, and those that take too much with little regard for others.

There is a third choice…..bringing an attitude of loving self-care into our daily life and recognizing that when we are feeling nurtured and replenished, we can then give to others from a whole and balanced perspective. It is not a selfish act when we first and foremost ensure that we are well nourished so that we can be as clear, strong and directed as possible as we venture out into the world and be of service to others.

Easier said than done, right? How do we learn to cultivate a daily practice that includes various acts of self-care, especially when it appears like there is not enough time in the day? You might be raising a family while working a full-time job! It’s no wonder that such a huge percentage of our culture opts to plop down on our couches and overstuffed chairs and watch hours of television every evening, simply wishing to zone out after a full day of hard work and responsibilities.

I’m not suggesting that watching television is a bad thing, only that it’s possible to expand our menu of self-care choices. Below are a few options to consider including in your weekly menu:

  •  Taking a warm bubble bath by candlelight.
  • Reading a book that nourishes your mind and inspires your imagination.
  • Listening to music that serves to either relax you or ignite your body in movement.
  • Devote time to an in-home hobby, something that inspires your creativity.
  • Curl up in bed and begin a journal that serves as a way to express your innermost thoughts, feelings and visions.
  • If you have a fireplace and weather permitting, sit by the warm flame with the sound of the crackling wood and take time to meditate or be still, allowing all the business of the day to fade away as you bask in the spaciousness of peace.

Remember, you are not being selfish when you nurture yourself first. It is only when we are fully nourished that we can be of optimal value to others. Say YES to self-care and watch your vitality, health and happiness soar! Now is the time.

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