Is Self-Care Selfish?
Written by Maria Koropecky, wellness coach @ Homespunspa
Is self-care selfish? No, it isn’t. But for some reason, many of us feel uncomfortable about putting ourselves first on our own list and taking the time to take care of ourselves. We’ve got to turn this thinking around because at the end of the day, if we don’t continue to nurture our own body, mind, and spirit, we won’t have anything more to give to anyone else.
There’s a big difference in attitude between selfishness and self-care. Being selfish is about focussing solely on one’s own interests, agenda, gains, and superiority without concern for anyone else’s needs or preferences.
Self-care is about giving yourself attention, kindness, and nourishment so you can be at peace with yourself and be there and be present for the people you love.
Selfish people don’t think about giving to others. It just doesn’t occur to them.
There are also people who want to give and are very generous — they’ll give the shirt off their back, so to speak, — but they don’t have enough for themselves. That approach is misguided also. If you have an extra shirt and you’re not using it, than that’s one thing, but if you only have one shirt and you give yours to someone who already has a shirt, leaving yourself to face the elements without any cover, than there’s a problem. Leaving yourself with some measly crumbs or with nothing at all is not what it’s all about. Sadly, people do this all of the time because they don’t feel like they’re enough.
Use fountains as reminders.
Mystical poet Rumi said, “Never give from the depths of your well but from your overflow.”To me, being enough is about having enough to share and giving from my abundance.
Mystical poet Rumi said, “Never give from the depths of your well but from your overflow.” I strongly agree.
Giving generously is at it’s best when it comes from your abundance, like from the interest in your bank account. If you have extra of anything, by all means, give it to someone who will appreciate it. For example, everyone has an excess of hugs and smiles to give and I’m sure everyone has at least one talent that they can share with others. Give those freely and with joy. Give from the place of having enough and that you are enough already.
However, if you don’t have it to begin with, things like time, money, interest, or energy, don’t try to scrape the bottom of the barrel and think you’re being helpful. In other words, fountains can’t fount if there’s nothing for them to draw from.
My point is, we’ve got to fill up our own well and keep it overflowing and fill our own needs first before we can give and help others. That’s why I’m a wellness coach and that’s where self-care comes in. Taking care of ourselves keeps our wells topped up. (Notice how the words “wells” and “wellness” are related). 🙂
Another Bonus From Self-Care.
When people see you taking care of yourself and treating yourself with kindness, they will treat you well in return. If you carry yourself in a healthy way and believe you’re worth it, others will mirror that back to you and will be more friendly towards you. Also, others may even start to model your example (people like your kids, friends, co-workers) which will improve your relationships and then the idea of self-care will travel throughout the world, making the world a better place for us all.
How I Practice Self-Care
In November of 2015, I had the idea to make an appointment with my doctor to get a check up. I hadn’t seem him for over a year because of the nature of my mobile spa appointment schedule and I just didn’t want to.
My doctor’s appointment went fairly smoothly and then he sent me to the lab to get some bloodwork and other tests done. As I was going out of my way to do all of those extra tests, I realized I was doing all of this for me. I was showing myself that I care about myself and I matter to me. That was a huge breakthrough.
I haven’t heard from my doctor since then so I’m assuming all is well, thank goodness, and I’m planning to continue to make my health a priority.
As Count Tyron Rugen said in The Princes Bride, “Get your rest. If you haven’t got your health, you haven’t got anything.”
After that doctor’s appointment, I made a wholehearted decision to be healthier. I’ve taken an indefinite break from drinking wine and I’ve revamped my diet so that I’m not eating desserts or snacks and since then I’ve lost almost 25 pounds at a rate of 2 pounds or so a week. I feel great and I feel like I’m a better wellness coach as a result. Taking care of myself is having a ripple effect to the people around me and is creating better conditions in my life in general. I’m so glad I was inspired to take my own wellness to the next level.
Ideas for Self-Care
If you’re looking for ideas of what you can do to practice self-care, have a look at this Calendar of Wellness and Health Awareness Days I’ve compiled.
going to the doctor like I did
going to the dentist
getting your vision checked
getting your hearing checked
cooking your own wholesome meals and bringing your lunch to work
going on a wellness walk through your neighborhood
writing in a journal
going to the spa for the day
talking to a wellness coach like me
You can pick a different theme every month. Just do something daily to tell yourself you care because you really do matter. Start by thanking yourself for coming this far already. I promise your days will be brighter if you take the time to practice self-care as often as possible.