Society sees this as very black and white. Selfish is defined as lacking
consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or
pleasure. And selfless is defined as having, exhibiting, or motivated by no
concern for oneself; unselfish. Not a lot of in-between there. You either care for others or you don’t. However, we know there is much gray area there. But how DO you find a balance between meeting your own needs and taking others’ feelings into
consideration as well? How do you care for and help others, but not neglect yourself in the process?
When you start helping people in ways you are not helping yourself, it’s only normal to become angry and resentful. And truly, you’re probably not much help to that person anyway. Anyone who has every traveled by airplane is well aware of the airline’s oxygen mask policy "...make sure to put the oxygen mask on yourself first before attempting to help someone else put on theirs." This policy should probably be mandatory for life too.
If we are not healthy, physically and emotionally, we will never be the kind of spouse, parent, friend, or employee we need to be. If you are not giving to yourself, you will never be able to give to others without feeling put-out and bitter. Believe me, I know.
But it’s hard to shake that word…that idea…that feeling that I’m being selfish. Synonyms for selfish are self-centered, egotistical, and self-seeking. I don’t want to be those things. I want to be caring, thoughtful, kind, and compassionate while still meeting my own needs first. I want to find a balance between selfishness and selflessness. So how do we walk the line between self-care and self-sacrifice, knowing that too much self-care can make us selfish, but too much self-sacrifice can make us a martyr and a victim?
I don’t have the answer so I will just continue to hold “me” and “we” as equally valuable and when one starts to take up too much time, I will know it’s time to
rebalance. I will try and remember the value of my oxygen mask but I may need reminding from time to time to put my mask on first. Do you think there is such a thing as being too selfish? Do you struggle with finding balance? Do you feel judged for taking time for yourself? I would love to hear what you think!