topiary cats

topiary cats

Friday, March 27, 2015

Selfish

Carey wrote a post in which she mentions being selfish.  Except that she's not selfish.  Not at all.

The whole use of the word "selfish" is, to me, greatly mis-used.  It has a negative connotation. No one is "selfish" for taking good care of themselves.  We must take care of ourselves. Like Carey, I require a lot of alone-time.  And quiet.  I definitely need much more of this than the average person.  I go nuts if I don't have solitude to reset and recharge. And so I take this time that I need in order to remain stable.

That certainly does not make me selfish.  Doing things for myself, pursuing and nurturing my interests and likes- for me as a person- is not selfish.  Being my own person is not selfish.  Having boundaries is not selfish.

Not wanting to have any more (or any) children is not selfish.  I cannot stand when people tell women they are selfish for not wanting children.  Not everyone does, and that is absolutely fine! I do not believe in constant self-sacrifice at the expense of your own well-being. There is a balance here that needs to be maintained.  If you are doing your best with what you have and what you know, there is never any reason to feel guilty or selfish.

Selfish is an overall lack of regard, care, or concern for others, or your advantage at another's expense.  You can still take care of yourself, meet your needs, pursue your interests etc while being mindful and caring towards others.  Selfish is making decisions based  on what you want as the primary motivation with little, or lack, of concern for others who will be affected.  Selfish is the world revolving around you.  Selfish is putting your wants and needs ahead of others with little or no concern and reciprocation.  Selfish comes from a place of "It is all about me and others must revolve around me." Selfish is self-importance over others' importance.  Selfish is entitlement.  Selfish is a lack of gratitude. Selfish is arrogant.  Selfish is a lack of empathy. Selfish is dismissing other people and their perspective. Selfish is blaming others for your drained energy when you are the one not taking care of yourself.

We need a different word for healthy self-care.  We have to stop using the word "selfish" to refer to something that is healthy, normal, and essential.

Mothers especially need to nurture themselves, as we do a lot of care-taking for others. I have Daya do as much for herself as possible, as much as her age and capabilities allow.  Children have needs that they are not able to meet themselves, which change as they age.  Yes, as parents we do have to meet those needs before our own- that is true- however it does not- ever- negate our own needs or require us to completely sacrifice ourselves as the people we are.  Besides, everyone knows that if Mom is happy everyone is happy.  :)

Be good to yourself.  Be kind to yourself.  Be your own best friend.  Do not judge yourself, or speak to yourself in a way that you would not speak to someone you love.


2 comments:

  1. Excellent points, and in general, you are totally right.

    My definition of selfishness is different in scope. Or rather, it's just less commonly interpreted this way because as human communicators, we tend to jump to the easiest or most-used interpretation of a word. Totally understandable because that is how words gain their meaning to begin with.

    But, I have found no better word for what I wish to describe...it *is* selfishness, but that does not make it a negative thing. Long ago, I worried about my tendency to selfishness...but I now realize it is both a necessary and healthy thing, used properly, and I embrace it. Many things with negative connotations are like that, actually...which is why I don't hesistate to use the word applied to myself. (Though I am careful not to apply it this way to others who might not grasp the context I am speaking in.)

    Interesting that you bring this up because it brings to mind other of my non-typical word usages.....

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  2. I totally agree, it isn't being selfish if we function better by taking care of our own needs, as those around us benefit from our healthier selves.

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