“Don’t sacrifice yourself too much, because if you sacrifice too much there’s nothing else you can give and nobody will care for you.” – Karl Lagerfeld
Nobody wants to be thought of as selfish. In this endeavour many people make an enormous effort to ensure that they are understanding, caring, generous and empathetic towards other people. For some people this generosity of spirit, energy, resources and love comes very naturally, and for some people it is more conscious and deliberate, both approached are as valuable and as positive as each other.
However, there are those people who extend their energy so far, and stretch themselves so thin that they forget to look after themselves. Personal wellbeing can fall by the wayside if one is not mindful and conscious about one’s own needs. These people are often so focused on being helpful, that they are unaware that they are going without, and for others, they fear the perception that they are not doing enough. Whatever you are able to give, whatever the reason you are giving of your time and energy, it is imperative for your own health and wellbeing, that you continue to make yourself a priority.
1. The Stigma Around Selfishness
Many still manage to confuse the meaning of the word ‘selfish’. Of course, if you are a hoarder of resources, somebody who actively works towards the discretion of others for your own gain, someone who prides themselves for their lack of empathy, or somebody who lives with an ‘every man for himself’ attitude, then yes, in this instance, you might be on the selfish side. However, remembering to look after your own health, both mental and physical, does not make you selfish. Yet there are many who don’t seem to think this is an acceptable priority when in pursuit of helping others. Many are still afraid that they may be labelled as selfish, and so go above and beyond to avoid such a possibility (as well as having a genuine drive to give unto others, of course).
2. You Are Not Ignoring Others
And so, we come to the next slightly skewed perception; that looking out for your own wellbeing and being mindful of your own needs implies that you are ignoring the needs of everyone else. This is simply not true. Selfishness is a label that sticks to those who are consumed with the self, and put themselves first 100% of the time. Putting yourself first, ensuring that you are housed, comfortable, fit, happy and well fed, is essential. Bing your best self is as important for you as it is for those you support, so put time and energy into ensuring that this is the case.
3. If Not You, Then Who?
The thing is, if you spend all of your time not being mindful of your own needs, who else is going to? Although you might be able to receive help and advice, nobody, if you spiral downwards, can truly save you but yourself. You must carve out time in your day to check in with yourself and make sure that you are getting on all right.
4. A Healthy You Is Better for Everyone
It’s been said before, and I shall say it again, if you can’t help yourself, how can you expect to help anybody else? Think of yourself, for a moment, as a car. If a car is run down due to neglect; its engine rusting, its exhaust hanging off, and its windscreen cracked… if it is in a bad state and low on petrol, then how can you be sure that it is going to get passengers from A to B? If it has not been looked after then it will not run efficiently or reliably and the journey is likely to be uncomfortable. The better you are in yourself, the better you can support other people.
The world should be made up of happy, positive productive people. In order to contribute to this healthy, happy ideal, we need to ensure that we are putting out the best version of ourselves into the world. Offering a well looked after you is also of benefit to others. Look after yourself.
By Chris Thomson
Self-love and self-care is all about supporting your overall wellbeing. We hear a lot about wellbeing and how looking after it is good for us, but what does it actually mean? … How to Define ‘Wellbeing’
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