Selfish per Webster’s Dictionary is; lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure. Self–care refers to one’s ability to take care of their own daily living, such as feeding oneself, showering, brushing teeth, wearing clean clothes, and attending to medical concerns.
Obviously two very different words yet over time many have come to believe that if they put themselves first that is being selfish. So I invite you to turn this belief back around, even when you’re on an airplane you’re instructed to first put an oxygen mask on first for yourself, then children, or those around you who need assistance, and for good reason, if you waited to put yours on and helped others first you very well may end up unable to be of use to anyone including yourself.
In order to be of service to others we have to share from a full cup, not a drained and depleted one. When our energy cups runneth over is when we give to others. We ARE meant to be of service, but we MUST be of service to ourselves first, our own well being must be priority. Mothers struggle with this more than anyone as they feel that as long as they’re caring for their children their own well being can wait till later. This comes from the best intentions, but ultimately causes suffering for everyone and you don’t need to be a mom to fall into this cycle too. I’ve gone through periods where I spent more time helping out friends with their businesses, or their personal lives than I have for myself and its caused a great deal of issues and it took many years of therapy to even realize it was happening. I’ve learned the hard way that if we are not making self care a ritual daily then we are not being the best we can be for ourselves or for anyone else. This can lead to depression, mood swings, poor choices of eating, sickness, resentment, and an array of other issues.
So how do you ensure self care without feeling selfish? Routine self care will cause those around you to adjust naturally, the same way if you have a dog it will adjust to your schedule once you get in a routine. Sounds simple, and it is, but it can feel overwhelming to start and that’s completely normal. It takes at least 21 days to form a new “habit” in our subconscious minds, tht part of our mind controls over 80% of our thoughts, so we need train those thoughts.
Decide right now that you want to thrive, that you deserve the best life possible and that you want to show up for others as often as you can. Start with just one simple addition, maybe its a yoga class, an hour more of sleep, shutting yourself in your bedroom for 30 mins of quite time, its suggested that even turning off your wifi in your home while you’re sleeping at night can do wonders for re-charging your body. Whatever the thing is that first pops into your mind, do that! Even if its just a hot bath, invest in yourself, and if it requires asking your partner or a friend to help, do it and allow them to have the oppotunity to feel good supporting you as we all want to be of service to one another and we all need to learn to allow for that.
Sometimes when I struggle with this I think of my most selfish friend, and yes I have a few whom I love in spite of that quality. I watch how they truly feel its a privilege for another to help them out, now I am not suggesting you have to treat others like you expect them to do something for you, but just try on the feeling that we all want to help, it feels good to help, its easier for most of us to be the helper than the one being helped, but the energy of good goes both ways, so lets not rob one another of being able to be the helper.
And do not be hard on yourself, all we must do is keep being the best we can be and work to stick to a structure that works for us, but I beg of you, treat yourself a little each day and you will be surprised by how much more you can give to others, how much brighter you will shine and happier you will feel.
Originally published at medium.com