Selfish vs Self-love

By definition the SELF is a person’s essential being – the YOU that distinguishes you from anyone else. Most of the time we talked about the SELF when we are being introspective. Selfish means to lack consideration for others and to be concerned mostly with your own pleasure or needs/wants. Self-love is an appreciation for YOURSELF or a high regard for your well-being. This is when you are encouraged to take care of your own needs and not to sacrifice to please others. You can see how one could be seen as the other depending on who is looking.

Anyone that has had a good therapist will tell you that the moment they learn about self-love is a monumental a ha moment. Some people grow up learning from great parents that they are worthy of their own love and to protect themselves from emotional poachers. Some of us grew up in less than stellar homes and we spent a lot of our life trying to figure out how to GET someone to love us and that sometimes led us down unhealthy paths.

I still question myself when I make any important decisions. Am I saying/doing this because I’m selfish or am I looking out for myself? I wish I was more confident but since this self-love aspect is pretty new to me, I do tend to doubt often. I try not to make choices willy nilly and take time to be thoughtful.

A woman choosing not to have children can be seen as selfish or self love depending on who is judging. I happen to know two fantastic women that made a conscious decision to be child free and they are both happy for it. They love kids and have contributed to children’s welfare in many ways. One works in a hospital setting and another has given YEARS of her life for a volunteer organization whose sole goal is to help girls develop into confident women. You do not have to birth or adopt children to be good influences. To me, they were not selfish at all.

People who divorce their spouses are often seen as selfish especially if there are children involved. I have to shamefully admit that in my younger years, I was in that camp. I didn’t know my butt from a hole in the wall and I was basing my belief on the fact that children are precious and they deserve EVERYTHING. Yes, my heart was in the right place and it also came from an abused place. I wanted to be loved and protected so I thought the right thing would be to stay married for the kids.

Watching many people around me divorce for a myriad of reasons, I have matured enough to know that you can NEVER have a blanket statement about any situation. If the spouse is abused she/he/they unequivocally MUST leave the toxic relationship. It has been proven over and over that you are not helping the kids by being miserable. That ultimately sends the wrong message. I’m also learning that if someone is not happy or content, they absolutely have the right to end a marriage. Who are we to judge?

Think about this. Marriage is not really natural. No other living being gets married. It is a cultural phenomenon. At the most basic understanding it’s kind of gross – I mean if you think about how humans have exchanged people and goods to bond themselves to one another. Remember in history how parents gave dowries to ask a man to marry their daughter like she was something to be owned? Arranged marriages anyone? Even though I happily married on my own accord, I remember feeling really weird when I was told men had to sign my “papers” to say that I had gone from one family to another. I was not familiar with weddings and had no idea that was part of the ritual.

I love my family and I’m glad I have them. If I were in my twenties now, in 2022 I would choose consciously not to get married. I would strive to educate myself and find a career in which I could sustain myself and live my life enjoying the company of many people. It is HARD to be married. You are bound to make decisions together on EVERYTHING and that can prove to be really time consuming and sometimes impossible. I do not REGRET marrying my husband – he is a wonderful man and person. I am simply saying that I did not realize another choice existed.

Already my teen daughters are saying they do not plan to marry. Their generation is very comfortable with self love and exploring their SELVES. I am so glad for them. It is because of them that I’ve been able to stop and look within and realize it is okay for me to say, “I need some time to myself. I’m not cooking today – everyone scavenge in the kitchen! You go ahead and travel without me- I am not up for that.” I don’t think I would have said some of those things even as recently as 10 years ago.

I’m no expert but I say we all need to look within more and try to find a balance between selfish and self love. You deserve to be happy. You are allowed to figure out what that means whether you are a woman, man or child. Just my two cents.

Published by bridgey1967

Loyal. Funny. Sensitive. Loving. Creative. Survivor.

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