A lot of people believe it is essential to care for their family and close friends. However, these same people seem to balk when the thought of self-care is presented to them.
So, how does one find a balance between being selfish and being selfless?
Here are some experts’ insights:
Being selfless, which many people consider to be the “ideal” isn’t truly possible
We all must have some degree of selfishness in order to survive every day. Were it not for our ability to be selfish to some degree, we would give away all of our food, clothing, money, and other resources.
This would leave the truly selfless person with nothing at all—including life itself. Thus, it’s not that being selfish to a certain degree is a problem—in fact, it’s clearly necessary in order to survive.
Being “humanly selfless” (which is as close to selflessness as we can safely become) is often easy for those who are giving and nurturing in spirit. However, a “humanly selfless” person may be taken for granted or used by others—particularly those who are selfish. For those who are egocentric and miserly, being humanly selfless may feel like an impossibility.
True selfishness, which is at the opposite end of the spectrum of selflessness, is increasingly common in our externally oriented world. Whether a person is truly narcissistic or has strong narcissistic tendencies, a deeply selfish individual is generally lacking in the ability to consider the needs and feelings of others.
A truly selfish person puts his or her agenda and desires above the needs of others. Thus, a person who is deeply selfish will often have unsatisfactory or toxic intimate relationships.
Although a selfish individual may be able to sustain very superficial relationships—especially those that serve a personal agenda—more substantial relationships are often beyond their interest or capacity.
Finding a healthy balance between these two worlds can be difficult for those who are accustomed to being idealistically selfless or incredibly selfish. Although there is no “right” or “wrong” degree of selflessness or selfishness, it’s generally healthiest to care for the self as much as one cares for others.
These self-check questions can help an individual determine if they have found a solid balance:
- Do I have healthy boundaries that allow me to consider the needs of others without violating my own principles and needs?
- Do I factor in the needs and desires of others when making decisions that affect those in my life?
- Am I willing to have open, compromise-oriented conversations with others when disagreements arise?
- Do I give to others in a balanced way—saying yes to commitments that feel right and declining those that are not right for me?
- Do I take care of myself so that I am not chronically depleted from giving to and doing for others?
- Am I conscious of the needs of my community and engaged in supporting others as best I can, whether financially, physically, or emotionally?
- Do I prioritize others and live in a way that lets my loved ones know that they are important to me?
Source: upjourney.com ~ Image: Canva Pro