Is self-care really selfish?

We need to have a conversation about selfishness and self-care.

Think about every single relationship - blood or not - in your life. 

At any point, were you made to feel like you were being selfish by someone or a group of people? Did you make a proactive choice when you were overwhelmed that others took offense to?

There's a major difference between being selfish and being mindful of self-care.

A Hello Giggles article says it best: 

“When someone behaves in a manner that’s self-serving, there’s an underlying malicious intent that simply isn’t present with self-care. Being selfish means there’s a desire to take from others to their detriment, whereas self-care is about replenishing your resources without depleting someone else’s.”

(Photo by @lauren.modin)

Do you know the difference?

Let’s take a look at some examples of selfish, negative self-serving acts versus being mindful and taking care of yourself.

Example A

Selfish: Your family invites you to visit for the holidays, but travel is a huge factor and finances are tight. Instead of declining the invitation, you push back and tell the family they need to come to you. 

Self-care: Finances are stressing you out and you wish you could visit family for the holidays. You call your folks and tell them things are tight and you’re feeling the effects of financial stress. You ask if they’re okay with a Zoom call this year around the Christmas tree. 


Example B

Selfish: Your friend invites you to a social gathering but there’s someone else that was invited who you don’t care for. You message your friend saying you’re not coming because of that but you’ll come if the other person isn’t invited. 

Self-care: You recognize the other person going to the gathering causes you stress and it stirs up your social anxiety. You message your friend, the host, and tell them you’re going to take it easy but ask if you can schedule another meetup. 

Example C

Selfish: You decide to throw an event with a colleague but leave everything on their plate to handle, only to pull out from the event at the very last minute.

Self-care: You decided to throw an event with a colleague, but a week into planning, you realize you’ve got too much going on and are overwhelmed. You give your colleague a call and see what you can negotiate, seeing if there’s room to redistribute tasks or make time for a break before the event. 


Looking at these examples, what’s the major difference between selfish and self-care?

The selfish examples inconveniences others. This not only puts more stress on others but the consequences usually worsens your own stress. On the other hand, the self-care examples show action for your health while being considerate of others that are involved.

The problem is that since both ends of the spectrum can easily get confused by others who have yet to experience that growth. So if you get pushback for deciding not to go out on a Friday night, stand your ground.

Your self-care is important.

It is a priority.

We hope this blog post helped you differentiate between selfishness and mindfulness of self-care! If you want to keep up to date with the latest blog posts, make sure you’re subscribed to our newsletter: CLICK HERE NOW.

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