Being selfless is a wonderful attribute. However, consistently giving more of yourself than you have to offer is a societal pitfall. Are you always taking care of others: their needs, their wants, their everything? Then it’s time to take a step back and see to your own needs. Taking care of yourself isn’t a selfish act. It is a necessity of life that will allow you to be a better person, give more, and maybe even set some boundaries in the process.
You Can’t Pour from an Empty Jug – Metaphor time. Imagine you are a water jug that is full to the top. Now you pour a little water out at every adorable flower you happen upon. A little to the daisy, a little to the petunia, a little to the geranium. You keep giving and giving. Finally, you come to the very last little hydrangea. But you’re empty. You must go back to the hydrant, take care of yourself, and then return later with more water. You can’t pour from an empty jug.
The “Do” Mentality – Continually checking your to-do list for the next item that needs to be done for your spouse, your children, or a friend is exhausting. This race to complete tasks as a way of showing your love, affection, or worthiness doesn’t allow you to stop and smell the roses or whatever flowers you like.
Your Critical Inner Voice – When you think of not doing something for someone else, and you hear a voice saying that’s “selfish,” that is your critical inner voice. And sometimes, she needs to be ignored. She is the same voice that says you shouldn’t take the time to read that romance novel or soak in a hot bath. She pushes you to be critical of yourself. With practice, you can learn to control that voice and find a happy medium.
Stress Hurts – Running yourself ragged taking care of others is hard on the body. So is that accompanying stress. Stress is not just a mental side effect; it can also manifest in real and physical ways. Migraines, stomach aches, anxiety attacks, and many other forms of physical ailments can be caused by stress.
You Drain Others – While you are running around taking care of others, you may also be draining to others. Are you constantly nagging at your partner or children to “help them”? Or is there someone who is running around trying to take care of you as well? Stop. Take care of yourself. And let others take care of themselves.
There may be moments in time when you need to prioritize someone else over yourself. However, you need to prioritize yourself some of the time, all the time. It isn’t selfish, it’s a necessity.