Self-love is not selfish

Most people associate self-love with being selfish. This way of thinking is deeply rooted in our culture. What would you think of a housewife that wakes up every morning at 4am so that she can make breakfast for her family, and after that ends up feeling tired and unhappy because all of her family members take her for granted?

If you made a bad pancake, who would you give it to? Your partner or yourself? Would you give up going to yoga because your partner thinks it’s not cool or would you stop doing your favorite hobbies like painting and dancing so you could feel like a good mother? Do you feel guilty when during shopping you try out an expensive piece of clothing that you can afford but can’t help thinking that you could spend that money on someone else?

We are not selfish if we love ourselves

In defining selfishness, the term self-love should not be included. A person is being selfish when he is fulfilling his needs only while harming the needs of others. If a person tends to fulfill their needs it simply means that they love themselves. If a young man comes home at 3am, when everyone is asleep and slams the door, wakes his mother up demanding that she should make him a sandwich while playing really loud music, is what we can call as being selfish. But, if that same young man comes home quietly, trying not to wake everybody up on his way to the kitchen and makes himself a sandwich, that means that this person values himself and his needs while taking in account the needs of his family members. But if he is hungry and is worried not to wake his family up by walking through the house and goes to sleep feeling hungry, we could say he is not loving and appreciating himself enough. I think the difference is clear.

Photography: Jelena Malešević (___malesevic___)

Why is self-love so important?

Self-love is important because we tend to put the needs of others in front of ours. Most of the time when we voice our needs that are opposed to the needs of someone else, we will get a response that we are being selfish. How can someone say we are being selfish for putting our needs first, when they are trying to make us put their needs first? This kind of behavior can be really damaging because someone out of their selfish needs can make us feel guilt that we willingly accept. That is when we start thinking badly about ourselves even more and loving ourselves less. It is then that our feeling of unworthiness sends out signals to others and we attract even more people and circumstances that correlate with that feeling. We begin to feel and act more and more like a victim, which in the longer run makes us just even more bitter and get us further away from us.

We have to first love ourselves so we can love others

The key step to success is when we realize that we have to respect and love ourselves first so that we can respect and love others. It is only then that others will respect and love us. After we accept this realization is when we begin to believe that we are worthy of success and all the beauty and joy that life brings. The next question is: How do we love ourselves? More about this you can read in the following posts. But for now, keep in mind all of this when you reschedule your obligations because your friend can’t have coffee with you at that time or when you neglect your work because you accepted to take on your colleagues’ project because you feel uncomfortable to say “No”.

Author: Ana