There is a sudden wave of the phrases like “love yourself”, “put yourself first” along with affirmations like “I love myself just the way I am” and so on.
The moment we hear these phrases of wisdom, we tend to experience a teeny tiny bit of resistance, don’t we?
Some of us experience a sudden gush to embrace it and to implement it instantly, while some of us ignore the thought. And then, there are the third of us who interpret/confuse loving one’s self as an act of selfishness.
Well, where does that “third of us” come from?
It actually comes from a long-standing conditioning many of us have been raised with. This conditioning is all about sacrificing our needs/wants/desires for the betterment of others or to serve others.
We have been taught this to be the “ideal” way.
I have observed this especially with women clients that I have coached who have grown up with a learning to “never say NO to anybody for anything” | “overlook your own wishes to serve your family” | beliefs like “sacrifice and compromise only keeps the family intact” and so on.
These teachings are so well ingrained that we end up making this ‘our’ truth. While none to be blamed here, the opportunity we have is to identify and understand the thin line between selfishness and self-love.
Selfishness = loving one’s self at the expense of the other. Selfishness is actually a lack of self love.
Self-love = accepting one’s self exactly the way we are and loving ourselves for who we are and where we stand right here, right now.
To give you an analogy, if you’ve paid attention to the in-flight security briefing, when it comes to the oxygen mask, they always instruct, “put your own mask first, before helping others”. Now that’s not selfishness. It is an act of self-love. You love yourself enough and care for yourself enough to first put on your own mask, such that you are capable and strong enough to help others.
When you indulge in the act(s) of loving yourself unconditionally, you will develop endurance enough to be an inspiration for those around you.