3 Reasons Self-Love is Not Selfish

By Nancy Virden (c)2022

My desk was absurdly cluttered although the merging piles of documents and craft supplies made sense to me.  What did not make sense is how I allowed this to happen.  The desk was purely a visual for my thoughts and overwhelming emotions of distress.  Those were not as easily managed.

I had chosen the needs of others over mine to an extreme level.  While intending to help, my strength was exhausted.  I remember thinking I could not go on this way, and I was right!  Admittedly, self-love was a foreign concept, and taking care of me seemed selfish.

There are three (if not more!) vital reasons self-love is not selfish.

1. Self-love allows us to be there for our loved ones.

I had fallen prey to one of the oldest and most misleading myths about women – we are superb at multitasking.  According to the comprehensive study published by Thomas Buser and Noemi Peter in Experimental Economics,1  no man or woman can have two thoughts or carry out even two simple tasks at the same time.  We think we can because our brains switch between them rapidly.

When we say yes to too many obligations, we become less available emotionally.  Since I could only accomplish one thing at a time, I found myself frustrated to a breaking point.  My children did not have my optimum attention.  The oldest boy, 12 at the time, said, “Mom, I just want us to be a family again.”  Ouch.

2. Self-love creates humility.

Everyone intuitively understands there is something amiss about an obnoxious fellow employee or social acquaintance who brags and puts other people down.  “Me, me, me” is an exercise in self-focus, not self-love.

By first understanding we have needs, we realize our kinship with everyone else.  None of us is empty of pain, spiritual hunger, or deep desires.  How can I offer an answer when I am not perfect?  Instead of trying to be everything to everybody, self-love teaches me to see my needs in a sober light.  Now I can meaningfully relate to the human race.

3. Self-love allows others to participate

Determined to find a sense of balance, I made a few phone calls and stepped down from excess duties.  Responses varied.  One woman, who had not led a group before, volunteered to teach crafts.  A man took over a study group comprised largely of male teens.

It had never crossed my mind that a novice might benefit from taking on the work or that by allowing something to go undone, a better idea could take shape.  Inadequate multitasking was replaced with more efficiency and success.

Self-love blossoms under the nurture of self-care.  Proper rest improves my mental health, and taking time to grow spiritually changes my outlook.  God’s love reaches my heart because it no longer opposes my sense of value.  There is room for stronger relationships, proactive love for people who hurt, and more robust participation in life.  By loving myself, I can love others.

That is never selfish.

Dear Lord, Thank you that your creation of nature is orderly. Please help me to get my life in order. Help me to know what to let go and on what to focus. Help me to love myself the way you love me so that I can be free to share that love with other people. Amen.

-COMMENTS WELCOME

Today’s Helpful Word

Mark 12:30-31

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” -Jesus

How the Difference Maker Lifts You Above Depressive Thoughts (c)2020

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Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair. NOTE: Nancy is not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speaks only from personal experience and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

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[1] Buser, T. & Peter, N., (2012) Multitasking.  Experimental Economics, 15(1), 641- 655.  Retrieved on January 4, 2016 from http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10683-012-9318-8

2 comments

  • Dear Nancy

    Very glad to see sensible comments on love and self-love not being selfish.

    And regarding “I had fallen prey to one of the oldest and most misleading myths about women – we are superb at multitasking”. As I have been married to my wife for nigh on 30 years now, I know she can do a lot of things well, but doing several things at once as it were is one thing, doing them well is another.

    Men may suffer this as well but I think we are not subject to that pressure so much.

    The two great commands do make it quite clear we must love ourselves as otherwise how will we know how to love others.

    Kind regards

    Liked by 1 person

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