It seems like everywhere you look, people are talking about self-care. Whether it's getting your nails done or taking a much needed nap, practicing self-care is something that our society encourages us to do. But what happens when we take it too far and become overly focused on ourselves? The question of whether or not self-care is selfish is something that has been asked and debated over time, but figuring out if your own practice of self-care is crossing the line can be difficult as everyone’s individual needs vary.
Before exploring the issue further, it’s important to define what self-care actually means. Self-care is the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health, well-being, and happiness through various activities, such as physical health care, mental health care, relaxation, learning positive coping skills, and improving lifestyle and relationships with others. self-care is all about taking care of your own individual needs - whether physical, mental, or emotional - in order to be the healthiest and happiest version of yourself.
That said, understanding when your self-care is becoming too “selfish” depends entirely on how it’s impacting your relationships with others and your ability to support their needs, too. Generally speaking, a healthy practice of self-care should never come at the expense of those around you. If it does, then it should be a red flag that things need to be re-examined.
Along those same lines, beware of becoming so consumed with your own cares and concerns that it becomes difficult to focus on the needs of those around you. This could be demonstrated through isolating yourself from others or talking obsessively about yourself instead of being attentive to others. If a person is only engaged in self-care when there is an opportunity to put their own self-serving desires above everyone else’s needs, then it’s safe to say that self-care has crossed into selfish territory.
From a practical standpoint, it can be helpful to ask yourself the following questions whenever you set out on a journey of self-care: Am I in a good place emotionally to focus on my own needs right now? How will this affect the other people in my life? Will this benefit them in any way? And finally, is this something that I honestly need right now, or am I just trying to give myself a treat?
On a larger scale, self-care isn't always as much of a solo act as some people make it out to be. Sometimes it involves taking part in activities with friends or family that help to promote growth in relationships. This could come in the forms of shared hobbies, connecting on a deeper level, or taking part in group exercises like attending a yoga class together. Performing self-care in a collective manner does not only benefit the individual, but it also encourages learning, connection, love, and compassion and can help build deeper relationships with those around you.
No two people are alike, and everyone has different needs and ways of practicing self-care. Knowing the difference between self-care and selfishness is dependent on how it impacts our relationships, both with ourselves as well as those around us. Though it is our duty to take care of ourselves and ensure that we are healthy and fulfilled, it’s just as important to remain aware of how our actions may be affecting those around us. The key is to strive for balance.
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