Is Self-Care Selfish?

Self-Care versus Selfish

Self-care is one of the most vital pieces of mind-body wellness.

Try as we might, we simply cannot pour from an empty cup.  We cannot fulfill our potential and give our best emotionally, physically, and spiritually, whether it is in the home, the workplace, or in school, if we do not replenish ourselves.

Yet many are confused, and sometimes taken aback, by the suggestion that they take more time for themselves.  Often, there is a misconception that self-care is selfish.

Self-care is any practice that nurtures your mind and body.  It replenishes us so that we can be the best mom, therapist, or friend we have the potential to be.  Self-care could be walking the dog, enjoying a piece of chocolate, or getting a massage.  We regularly maintenance other things in our lives.  What would happen to a vehicle is we neglected to change the oil?  Eventually, it would begin to malfunction, or perhaps completely break-down.  Yet, I have never heard someone refer to vehicle maintenance as selfish or extravagant.

Why do so many of us have such a warped, misguide concept of self-care?  Some may suggest that the way we are raised has a significant impact in how we view, and practice, self-care.  Unfortunately, sometimes individuals are raised in an environment where their emotional needs are simply not met appropriately.  Some of us may have grown up with narcissistic caregivers who were more concerned about their own well-being than ours.  We saw their behavior and decided that we wanted to embody the exact opposite in our lives.  Perhaps we were even told on a regular basis that we were being selfish when we asked for something.

Other may have grown-up in a co-dependent relationship with their caregivers, in which the child essentially became the parent and learned to take care of others, regardless of the depletion of their own “cup”.

Selfish behavior is narcissistic, self-absorbed, and does not consider the wellness of others.  Self-care, on the other hand, refills us in whatever dimension of our life is lacking and enriches our ability to serve those we care about.

We are only given one body, and one mind, and the unique and numerous gifts that each of us are endowed with.

It is our responsibility to take care of ourselves to the best of our ability, respecting the incredible gift that we have been given.  Nurture your inner child and give yourself permission to practice self-care.

What are you going to do to take care of yourself today?


About the Author:  Danielle is a provisionally licensed mental health practitioner in Omaha, Nebraska. She is a sole proprietor at New Leaf Therapy Associates, LLC, and enjoys working with individuals and families.  Danielle utilizes trauma-informed techniques and mindfulness with her clients, helping them to feel empowered and more in control of their lives.
Phone: (402)980-6342

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