To me, this is a VERY important topic. What is the difference between Self-love and being selfish? Setting boundaries, putting your needs before others!? It’s something that I find to be very misunderstood. In my experience, it has almost become a norm that you put everyone else before you and that you neglect your own needs and feelings to make other people happy and comfortable. But then what happens? You get depressed, sad, angry, frustrated, easily triggered? We can only neglect ourselves SO much before our bodies will let us know that enough is enough.
When we put ourselves first we empower ourselves to be the best, most authentic self possible. Which leaves more space for us to want to make other people happy which essentially comes back to us and makes us more happy. Yay! Putting ourselves first does not mean being a narcissist and having no regards for others. A relationship with yourself where you honor your own needs, wants, feelings & thoughts is so essential for you to fully be the best version of yourself and is a big part of expressing self love. Only THEN, when your cup is all full, will it spill over for others to enjoy. It’s important that you know that only YOU can and should be the judge of what's self loving to you. Only YOU know what YOU need the most. Everyone will have a different prospective of what self love is vs being selfish and for many it’s a very fine line.
Our families or whoever else it might be, are often very good at subconsciously -or consciously throwing a guilt card at us that's so hard for us to look past that we end up doing things we don't want because we feel guilty. The guilt card works and the one trowing it knows it!
The other day I saw a post from a girl on Instagram who mentioned that of all the women she knew, she looked up to this one woman the most because she always put everyone else before herself. ALARMS GOING OFF!!! Ohh sweet girl. Unfortunately many think that this is something to aim for but it's a sure recipe for exhaustion and built up resentments.
It's a very common thing that we find our friends & family putting expectations & guilt on us for us to do things for them. We might rationalize the situation by thinking, 'yeah, she's my best friend, I should do that', or 'oh, well it's family I guess I should do that'! But remember, you’re not here to save people from their own discomfort even though it sometimes seems like it. And this is essentially what you're doing when you feed into their guilt trips or when you do something you don't want to because you feel like you owe something to them.. Your job is to take care of YOU first because if YOU are not functioning fully, then how can you be there fully for others? You're not here to live up to other peoples expectations!
But what if
Now lets say that you've been giving yourself away a little tooooo much and your body is screaming
"ENOUUUGH, I NEED A BREAK'.
BUT you're family is screaming down your neck throwing guilt cards at you: 'I've done SO much for you, don't you even care' "I can't believe you won't do this ONE thing when I need it the most' 'You're so selfish, don't you care about me?'.
- That doesn't feel good, right?
BUT, you really don't wanna do this one thing cuz you've already pushed yourself so far.
BUT you also REALLY don't wanna be labeled as 'selfish' - now who wants THAT.
All the sudden theres a war between your body and your mind.
Your Body: I really need to rest, I've been feeling so stressed lately.
Your Mind: She'll be mad at me if I don't do it.
Your Body: I'm gonna have a breakdown if I don't take care of myself first.
Your Mind: She's gonna hate me and I do NOT wanna be labeled as selfish.
What are you gonna do? Who are you gonna listen to?
You probably know the drill of how far we can take this argument with ourselves and you'd probably end up convincing yourself by saying, 'yeah I guess I could do this one thing' or 'of course I care - I should do it'.
Or maybe it's a situation where you're thinking, 'I'm the only one who can do it, if I don't do it no one will' - or,
'Theres no one else to do it, I have to'.
What do you think happens when you then decide to ‘help out’? You might suffer.
You’re helping other people not feel their own discomfort & the last person you're helping is YOU.
The question is, is it really worth you loosing YOUR comfort? Don't you think when your body tells you that you need rest, that it should be just as important as your family 'needing' something from you? If only your body could throw you a guilt card as hard as some relatives can. I guess it kinda can. It's just delayed and you end up paying later. Often times we don't even realize how much we're pushing our own boundaries because it's become so normal to ignore them.
Here's the deal. If it's not honoring yourself then NO! - NO shoulding! Not even on yourself.
PUT IT INTO PRACTICE
How am I gonna apply this to my life you may ask? How can I be more self-loving?
Put it into practice by saying: I WANT to listen to myself. I WANT to honor my own needs. I WANT to be there for myself as my own best friend. I WANT the best for myself. I deserve the BEST.
Be true to you & honor your own needs as much if not more than others. If you don't, some day there might not be much room for doing anything for anyone!
We all have different needs and no one knows what each and everyone is in need of.
But YOU know what YOU need - if you pay attention. A very simple way to honor yourself and LISTEN to your needs is to simply just ask yourself: Do I want to do this? - YOU know the answer.. if it's no, then don't, if it's yes, then go ahead. You might think, well dooh! But how often have you actually asked yourself this question? 'DO I REALLY WANT TO DO THIS?' If you mentally ask yourself that question I think you’d be surprised by the answers you get and the conversation it may trigger.
It's not that clear
As for myself, I've started to realize that sometimes I just DON'T KNOW if it's a yes or no. My mind takes over and I rationalize so hard that I don't know what I REALLY want. SO for me, MY golden rule is that if it's not a clear YES, then it's a no. I'd rather realize that I could've done something and then feel good about doing it rather than do it and realize I didn't want to and then feel bad about it.
If I go on autopilot and forget, (like I said, often we don't even realize how much we're pushing our own boundaries because it's become so normal to ignore them) it’s like a bird that just hit the window. Throughout my life I learned to become a master at not listening to my own needs because I wanted to make other people happy qnd when that happens , I break down! I cry, I get overwhelmed, I get anxiety, and that’s my wakeup call if I didn’t catch it before that. Like I said, I tend to go on autopilot. Just because I already know this, doesn't mean that I don't forget sometimes.
We're all humans, we forget from time to time.
People who are people pleasers usually have a hard time with boundaries so if this is you... get to work, for your own sake.
Now if you're thinking THAT's STUPID. That's super selfish to only think about yourself and not others. Well, that' s fine, you're allowed to think that. For a lot of people it's just how they were raised - to think about themselves LAST. As I said earlier, it can be hard to unlearn something we learned so early in our lives and if we're too far down the road of having neglected ourselves for too long, it might take some time to rebuilt yourself. But once you've done that, you're gonna be there so much more for others because you WANT to and it will no longer feel like a burden or a heavy cloud over you head. You'll have so much more love and patience for whatever is being thrown at you & THAT is what I wan't you to realize. Fill your cup and let it flow over.
I know it can be more difficult to honor yourself when it comes to friends and family but it doesn’t matter who it is. If you run yourself down, then who’s going to pick you up? You might think you need to be the head of the family or ‘if I don’t do it no one else will’, but that’s ok. So what? So what if no one does it? When a situation occur and you hear that little voice in your head saying: 'well it's such a small thing if I just do it everything will be fine', or 'then she'll be happy' or 'then he'll stop asking', then stop yourself for a minute. Remind yourself that YOU matter too. What YOU feel and think is important too. I'm sure that we've all to some extend experienced that if we don't meet other peoples expectations then we're being SELFISH. But in reality you're just nurturing yourself and that's GOOD!
It's kinda like your diet.. Not one thing works for everyone. Some people are extroverts others are introverts. Some people are gonna think that you being self loving is you being selfish and that’s just how it is. Paleo people will look at vegans and think WTF! And Vegans look at meat eaters like 'don't you know better?'. And that’s how people who are really good at not honoring their own needs are gonna look at you - you selfish S%#T. But I’d encourage you to be an inspiration for them. To hopefully make them want to take care of themselves one day. Teach them that it's ok to be SELF - FULL.
No matter WHO is throwing expectations at you, throw them back. Love yourself whatever that may look like. Ask yourself what you wan’t and don’t want. What you like & dislike. And most importantly, "Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy." - Robert Tew
Please share & like it if you know someone who could benefit by it <3