Have you ever wondered why we tend to feel uncomfortable when someone says that it’s important to “put yourself first”?
Perhaps it’s because society seems to teach women that putting ourselves first would be selfish.
Bred to be the nurturing ones, we’ve learned to put everyone else first, abandoning ourselves and our needs along the way.
I hear this all the time, “Jenna, self-love sounds selfish to me”.
And there’s a lot of research around this too.
After working with hundreds of clients, psychologist and life coach Vanessa Scotto says: “not knowing the difference between selfishness and self-love is a prime cause of exhaustion, anxiety and unhappiness”.
So I’d like to set the record straight today, and review with you the difference between selfishness and self-love.
As noted in the Miriam Webster dictionary, The definition of selfish is to be “concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself: seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being, without regard for others”.
On the other hand, according to the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation:
–> Self-love is a state of appreciation for oneself that grows from actions that support our physical, psychological and spiritual growth.
–> Self-love means having a high regard for your own well-being and happiness.
–> Self-love means taking care of your own needs and not sacrificing your well-being to please others.
–> Self-love means not-settling-for-less-than-you-deserve.
To practice self-love doesn’t mean you suddenly lose all concern for others or that all you now care about are your immediate needs. That would indeed be selfish.
Self-love is about valuing yourself and prioritizing your happiness and well-being.
The funny thing is, the better we take of ourselves, the less resentment we have toward others for not giving us what we give to them, and the more we actually have to give to our loved ones, our jobs, our communities and the world.
If anything, self-love is the opposite of being selfish.
It’s like…when you’re on an airplane, and they tell you to be sure to put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others.
They are reminding us that we can’t be much good to everyone else if we-aren’t-getting-enough-oxygen ourselves.
We have to care for ourselves first. That’s what sustains us! It’s our oxygen, our energy.
So, I hope you will please remember that it’s not only not selfish to care for yourself first, it’s better for everyone else too!