Self-Love: Selfish or Selfless?

self care isn t selfish signage

“The greatest love of all is easy to achieve

Learning to love yourself

It is the greatest love of all.”

Whitney Houston, The Greatest Love of All

A question that has been long debated is whether or not self-love is selfish. We live in a world that repeatedly tells us how loving ourselves is the definition of selfishness. In fact, did you know that when you look up synonyms for self-love, you will find the following words?

  • Egotism
  • Selfishness
  • Egocentricity
  • Narcissism

From a young age, we are often taught that loving ourselves is putting ourselves before others. And, putting ourselves before others is bad. If you put yourself before others, you are selfish. But what if the world is not that black and white?

Let us look at self-love from a different perspective. Right now, let us define self-love as simply accepting yourself and prioritizing your own happiness and well-being. This does not mean prioritizing yourself over others by refusing to help or support someone else, but simply, working hard to achieve inner peace and happiness.

If we learn how to accept ourselves for who we are, we are able to work on cultivating that inner peace and happiness that we deserve. Within that happiness, we no longer feel the desire to prove ourselves to others. This helps us to live more authentically. When we are our authentic selves, we are able to offer more to others. Through the love and understanding we found within us, we are able to extend that same love and understand to others, in the form of empathy and compassion.

So, what if self-love meant that we did not view ourselves as better than others, but simply as important as others? What if self-love meant the following?

  • We simply see ourselves for who we are and are proud of who we are, instead of telling ourselves all of the reasons we are not enough.
  • We acknowledge and validate our thoughts, feelings, experiences, and traumas, instead of invalidating important pieces of our lives.

I will leave you with this, what do we take away from others by also loving ourselves?

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