That’s Selfish! – Or is it Self Care?

by Ellie Ballentine on November 30, 2010

I was at an event recently when I overheard another woman, (yes, women, we can be nasty!) judging another woman for taking a long weekend away with her husband. The woman talking perceived the weekend away as a selfish act. To make a long story short, I happened to know the couple she was talking about. Now, I can tell you up front that this story has 2 articles in it: one is about judging others especially when you do not have full information, and the other is about the notion of selfish vs. self care. I think there is a lot of confusion about this, so I am choosing to write about it today. I invite you to read on if you finally want to get rid of guilt around taking care of yourself.

The definition of selfish from the dictionary is being “devoted to or caring only for oneself; concerned primarily with one’s own interests, benefits, welfare, etc., regardless of others”. It’s the last few words that are very important to remember when thinking about the definition of selfish – “regardless of others”.

When people are behaving selfishly, they are foolishly taking care of themselves at the cost of others. In fact, behaving selfishly does NOT end up taking care of anyone because if we do things at the cost of others, or without regard for others, we are literally shooting ourselves in the foot. I’m sure you can take a look around you and notice where we all have behaved selfishly – look at the economic result we created. Now look within yourself. When you behave selfishly, don’t you feel like you just got away with something? Most of you are conscientious people, so I know you know what I’m talking about.

I think most of you have a problem with distinguishing between self care and selfish, so let’s take a closer look at self care.

The word “care” as a noun means “serious attention” and as a verb “to have thought or regard”. Now we add “self” to the definition and we come up with “serious attention to the self” and “to have thought or regard for the self”. There is NOTHING about “regardless of others”!

So let’s get very clear here. When you are about to do something, be it book a massage or sign up for a course, ask yourself if you are doing this “regardless of others”. Have integrity with yourself – are you busting your budget? are you hurting another person with your actions? – or are you investing in yourself? Only you know the answer. I recommend that you be truthful with yourself so that you will be dealing in reality, not in illusion.

The other stumbling block here for most of you is GUILT. I see so often in my coaching sessions how many of you are lead by guilt. Somewhere along the line you have been taught that taking care of yourself is a “guilty pleasure”. That is the mindset of the survivor and the victim. Remember, if you are bringing thought or regard to yourself and it is not at the cost of another, then you are caring for the self – not being selfish!

I beg you to write the above down and keep it with you until you break the habit of guilt and start investing in your SELF – for when you do, here is what happens:

  • You get clear and focused on your goals
  • You have energy to bring about your dreams and visions
  • You are receptive to opportunities that support your dreams and goals
    You are receptive to what your body needs (nourishment, sleep)
  • You receive love
  • You get to know what EASE actually means!

You deserve to have a successful, empowering and powerFULL life.

Invest in YOU!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate September 27, 2012 at 2:28 pm

Awesome, thank you. Clear concise and just what I needed. I will write that down, you bet.
Thank you!

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Ellie Ballentine November 15, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Yes, we like it simple and effective! Glad you enjoyed the article :)

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