I learned recently that some people believe that you are selfish if you are not giving into everything they request of you. I was called selfish for putting up boundaries. I was called selfish for taking care of myself when there were no other options.
I grew up thinking that when you have any kind of relationship, you take care of them and they take care of you and in doing that, you both are taken care of. But in that same dynamic, if one person isn’t doing their caring or someone’s not caring enough, the cups that could be full soon become empty vessels and you become depleted. An empty vessel can do nothing for themselves, let alone others. Everything breaks. People develop resentment or people walk away.
I have since learned that an element of selfish behavior is important in the efforts to be selfless. When you love yourself first, you can better love others. When you fill your own cup, the love you receive from others makes that cup overflow and with that overflow, you can love more deeply. It is never selfish to care for yourself in whatever form that takes on. Naps are healthy; boundaries are healthy; saying ‘no’ is healthy; Taking a break from social media is healthy; shopping can be healthy (don’t overdo it—bills are due); reading and writing are healthy; meditation, yoga, screaming into a pillow, exercise, etc. Whatever brings you joy and peace deep inside is the selfish things you do to be selfless.
By being “selfish”, you present a better version of yourself to others. So drink more water; read more books; do something you love and the world will thank you.