Confusingly, many people believe that “self-love” entitles you to a certain amount of “selfishness.” In fact, many people avoid ever prioritizing themselves to avoid being labelled as “evil” by society, parents, religion, or culture. Being a Bad Person is what we dread the most.
I am here to let you in on a little secret: being a “bad” person is a ruse to keep you in your place. It goes much beyond anything done maliciously or, you know, killing and stealing. So why would society want you to believe that prioritizing yourself is a terrible thing, when it is not only OK, but essential to your health and well-being.
Nobody else can be saved, it is a fact. You cannot make things better by imposing your will on them. However, you can alter your circumstances. You can accept personal accountability. To be truly unselfish, you must first take care of your own health, mental/emotional well-being, and physical/mental/emotional requirements. Being “selfless” is not the only way to get the help you need (which is what it ends up being, most of the time). Here are a few more reasons why putting oneself out there is not selfish at all.
You cannot deliver passengers if your gas or battery is depleted.
Practicality dictates that tired, hungry, or running behind on your work means you will not have the mental resources to focus on what your friend is telling you about their personal life drama or be present at your friend’s art show event or commit yourself entirely to the project at work. You will be distracted. The idea is that if you do not take care of yourself, you will not be totally yourself. Similarly, showing up to events half-heartedly because you are fatigued and unpleasant is just as bad: no one wants to be around individuals who are not interested in attending.
Nobody Else Can Save You
Nobody can save you, nor should anyone else. It is the nicest and worst of being human, and the toughest to acknowledge. Nobody can make anyone else seek treatment or improve. No heavenly hand is reaching down to guide you. There are only small pockets of calm that you carve out. There are just clear beams and what you do with them. There are just choices, and how seriously you take them. In the end, you work. You carry the dead weight home. Until then, you wait, whine, and get sick of no one doing it for you, so you do it alone (and, at that point realize, it was only ever you, babe.)
The concept of “putting oneself first” is different from the concept of “disregarding the needs of others”…
So, I have no idea how we came to the realization that they were. As someone who has made the conscious effort to put other people’s needs above one is, you know that it is hard to do so without getting resentful and disregarding anyone else’s needs as a result.
To genuinely love other people, you must first learn to love yourself.
What is humorous about people, you ask? Even though our imagined differences have caused us to become steadily estranged, we are exactly (fully, utterly) the same. We are all intertwined. Our differences are superficial. Developing self-love is a prerequisite for developing other people’s love as well. First, you must be able to open your emotional and vulnerable parts of your heart to someone else. You are where it all begins and finishes. Be careful not to let the world convince you that starting from there is the incorrect way to go.