“Healthy selfishness feels like taking a risk. It does not mean disregarding other people’s feelings and needs. It simply means we do not disregard ourselves to please others or to support others at our own expense. It means we take care of our body and value our needs, desires, feelings and dreams.” – Blake D. Bauer
A recent post at www.mindbodygreen.com had me looking more into Blake D. Bauer, internationally recognized author, counselor and alternative medicine practitioner. Mr. Bauer contributed a post on a subject near and dear to my heart: selfishness and the misinformation we tend to believe about its relationship to self care.
Many of us have grown up believing that we need to put others first before our own needs. That’s what Mother Theresa did, right? Well, I’m here to give you permission to let go of that belief and put your own oxygen mask on first.
Blake says, “Everyone is selfish. But selfishness can be either unhealthy or healthy. “Healthy selfishness,” as I like to call it, can be thought of also as self-love.”
Have you ever said to yourself, “I can’t take that vacation or spend that money on myself, or even make time to nap, take a walk, or relax. I need to be there for my spouse, my kids, my family, my friends, first?”
You’re just being generous, fulfilling your purpose, or doing what’s expected of you, right?
What you’re doing is saying that you don’t matter, that you aren’t worth it, that you come second, third, and fourth to everyone and everything in your life. That’s why self care is so important. That’s why healthy selfishness is critical to being our best selves. We need to stop telling ourselves we don’t matter and start replenishing our minds, bodies and spirits. Only then can we be there for those we love. Only then can we give of ourselves in a way that benefits everyone.
For years I took care of my parents while they suffered from cancer and Alzheimer’s. I watched them wither away in the last years of their lives. I gave them all I had and in the end I had withered away, too. I thought I was doing what I had to do, but found I was not being my best self for them. And I certainly wasn’t being my best self for my husband and daughter. I had become depressed, overweight, out of shape and so very sad because I gave away more than I had. Nothing was left for anyone I loved, especially myself.
That’s when I became aware of healthy selfishness. That’s when I started taking better care of me. I ramped up my yoga practice, started meditating more regularly, and lost weight. I made time for me and created a life that routinely included self care.
I give you permission today to change the way you look at selfishness and see how “healthy selfishness” can mean MORE for all those you love. I give you permission to take time out for self care and be selfish. With your renewed spirit and fresh new outlook on life, your loved ones will be grateful you did.
Find out more about Blake D. Bauer’s latest book You Were Not Born To Suffer at You Were Not Born To Suffer.