WHY SELF-CARE ISN'T SELFISH: THE MYTH BEHIND THE LIMITING BELIEF
Article by Sharon Ball
So many of us feel guilty about taking time for ourselves. The very words self care or self nurturing sound selfish. We feel guilty and selfish because we don’t understand the difference between self-care/self-nurturing and self-indulgence. Self-indulgence is similar to narcissistic behavior.
The online American Heritage Dictionary defines narcissism as “a psychological condition characterized by self-preoccupation, lack of empathy, and unconscious deficits in self-esteem.”
Maybe our parents were too busy, critical or withholding, or perhaps they were actually abusive or neglectful. What we received from our parents is what we learned to give ourselves. So if we did not receive love, we did not learn to give love to ourselves and sometimes we didn’t even learn how to give it to others. Now as adults we may have this huge “hole” inside us that we are never able to fill.
Improving your life, life makeovers, reinventing yourself- whatever you want to call it, must start with self-nurturing.
We need to make sure we are receiving the empathy, time, attention, validation, respect, etc. from someone. If not from others, then we need to provide it for ourselves. Otherwise we end up trying to compensate for what is missing in our soul with self indulgence in which we develop compulsions or addictions.
For instance, cocaine, bingeing on cheesecake, shopaholic activities, smoking, alcohol, gambling are just a few examples. These are all substitute activities that we hope will fill that empty hole inside us but they never do.
Unfortunately, all these compensatory activities can become addictive. And as addictions they give pleasure up front and then leave you with a cost to be paid. In contrast, self-nurturance is both physically and psychologically healthy and will create more happiness for us. We’re not giving ourselves a “quick fix” that we may regret somewhere in the future but are addressing inborn needs.
If our lives are delivering boredom, pain, drudgery, or some vital need deep inside us is not being addressed; then we need to go back to discovering what our true values and passions are and if the majority of our time is spent on activities that reflect those values and passions.
If you are caught up in a cycle of attempting to satisfy your needs through self-indulgence instead of self-nurturing, do some self-investigation and determine what it is that your REALLY need. That is what you need to give yourself rather than the overeating, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, or whatever.