Is loving yourself selfish?
“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.” – Oscar Wilde
Self-loving has somewhat of a bad reputation. Even though it has been recognised by many authors and explorers of the human condition as one of the most important ingredients of happy living, some still consider it equal to selfishness and narcissism. They think if you love yourself it automatically means you are insensitive to others’ needs and don’t care about anyone BUT yourself. By catering to your own needs, you must be at the same time grossly neglecting the ones of your fellow humans – and we all know that caring for others is one of our great virtues, one that makes us better people.
However, in reality, many people have found out that constantly putting others’ needs in front of their own does not really make you a better person – only a very miserable one. And as a consequence, it makes it really hard to give a lot of yourself to them too. When everyone else has more priority in your life than you do – it often ends up with you being completely lost and unsatisfied – and, actually, the frustration doubles: not only you are neglecting your own needs, but you also very soon realise that you can’t possibly satisfy everyone else’s either. Their demands and expectations get higher and higher, and they get more easily disappointed if you don’t meet them. In the end – nobody is happy. They think they deserve more than you are giving, and you end up feeling exhausted and empty – to the point where you really have nothing much to give.
Clearly, the above are two extreme situations – and neither are a bright example of healthy loving in general. In both cases, the person feels there is not enough love to give – so they have to choose between themselves or others. Whether you feel that you are getting “poorer” by giving to others, or vice versa – you don’t really love yourself.
Loving yourself the right way means you love everything that is human about you and others. It creates a feeling of abundance, and in return – you have more to give to everyone. The more love you feel for yourself, the more love you can give to others too.
Loving yourself also means you are comfortable and happy with who you are, but you are aware there is always room for improvement – and you are ready and willing to make all the necessary changes to become that better and bigger version of yourself. You cater primarily for your needs – because you know that if you don’t make yourself happy nobody else will. And because you know that, if your life is one of misery and dissatisfaction – you won’t have much to give to others either.
Naturally you won’t ignore and neglect the needs of your loved ones – but you will do so in a way that does not harm you or them. You will know when you can give to others, and when it is OK to pass that responsibility to themselves. Because, unless they are little kids – they should be the ones to primarily cater to their own needs too. As a result, your life will become a much more pleasant experience. You will enjoy giving – to yourself and others, and you won’t feel guilty or diminished doing either.
Maybe some people will distance themselves from you – but those won’t be the ones who truly care for you. Because the people who truly care – they know that you need to make yourself happy too, and they are happy for you to do it – even if it means you sometimes have to say no to their requests and demands.
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