The Balancing Act: Is Self-Care Selfish?

It’s better to give than receive. But is it really? If you’re anything like me you’ve heard that saying almost all your life. We’ve heard it from mom, concerning sharing with siblings, to Barney; our favorite purple dinosaur when he told us sharing was caring (I’m telling my age). It’s safe to say we’ve been programmed to believe that giving should outweigh receiving, or as the saying goes is “better”. While I would usually agree I think there are stipulations and we should not take it at face value. Now don’t get me wrong, this blog is not a pass to be selfish and expect everyone to cater to you. Just keep reading lol.

 Why it’s OK to be selfish sometimes 

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 We are in a new wave of self-care and I’m here for it! With the rise of mental illness awareness and normalization of therapy, accompanied by the importance of good vibes, vibrations, energy, and light, we are taking control of our lives and removing everything toxic.

 But I can’t help but wonder if we’re guilty of being too extreme. Everything in balance, right? I am a proud millennial and one thing I’ve noticed about the majority of my generation is we take pride in our cut off game. Whether it’s publicly announcing the purging of our Facebook list or just straight blocking someone, we will protect our energy at all costs. However, that type of behavior will leave us lonely and bitter if not checked within reason. In the same breath, it does not mean that we accept any and every type of behavior out of fear of being alone.

 So what does all of this mean? I think the saying should be, “Sometimes it’s better to give than receive”. There are exceptions to every rule and if giving to you, costs me my peace, sanity, happiness, or causes me to lose sleep the cost is too great.

 We have to reprogram our minds to understand that we can’t give more than what we have and that is not just in romantic relationships, but friendships, work, acquaintances, and the like. I love the saying, “you can’t pour from an empty cup”. In other words, I can’t give you something that I don’t have. Social media has given us the task to “check on our strong friends”, and rightfully so. But if you’re the strong friend, find the strength to articulate when you’re not ok.

 Self-care is not selfish 

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Before giving, make sure you do a self-evaluation to ensure you can afford to release that in which you are distributing. 

Here are a few ways that you can take care of yourself even if you’re balling on a budget

 ·        Read a book

·         Date yourself

·         Find an Accountability Partner

·         Workout

·         Pick up a Hobby

·         Journal

·         Take a Walk

·         Play your favorite genre of music while taking a warm bath 

Now, here are some ways you can pay it forward! 

·         Volunteer

·         Send a care package to a struggling friend

·         Pay for someone’s coffee while at the coffee shop

·         Send hand-written “thinking of you” cards to a few friends. You can get a pack for $1 at the Dollar Store.

·         Purge your closet then donate the clothes to a local organization

·         Read to kids at the library

·         Babysit for that single mom at your church 

Taking care of you first is not selfish, it’s necessary. We cannot help those who are drowning if we don’t first know how to swim.

 I’ve learned while traveling, by air, that in the event of an emergency, we must secure our own face mask before helping others. To my friend, who is always checking on others, always picking up the slack, always calling first; take care of you, you depend on it.