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Why is it important?
Self-love is an essential quality for having a happy life. You may be really loved only if you can easily and enjoyably get close to this feeling, if it resonates inside you and shines out from your heart. However, self-love has one vitally important piece that is often forgotten behind loud talks about loving kindness, unconditional devotion, and selfless care. I let myself call it “a healthy selfishness” and this blog intends to show you why it is so important not to overlook it, but to develop and cherish it in yourself.
What does a healthy selfishness mean?
We are always learning by doing. Thanks to a quality called “neuroplasticity” our wonderful brains can turn every life experience into a life-changing event. Light experiences can be compared to average-level education and hard experiences to elite schools. At the elite schools, the process of learning is tough but the result can bring you to a totally new level of self-awareness and self-definition in life.
Remember that if an airplane is being depressurized you should first put the oxygen mask on yourself before taking care of others. Why do we always forget about this rule when we’re on the ground? There is no way to bring love into this world if you cannot fully and unconditionally accept yourself; to do so you need a healthy selfishness.
A great portion of self-awareness is required to learn from tough experiences. I believe a self-aware, responsible, and intelligent person with a great deal of tough experiences can learn: there is no way to live only by giving, there is nothing smart about not having your own personal boundaries, and some doors must be closed by you (and if closed, never opened again). As you learn these rules of reality, you begin to cherish in yourself a necessary building block of self-love: a healthy selfishness. In its turn, a healthy selfishness consists of self-respect, an unconditional sense of self-worth, caring about your own interests and a loving, kind attitude towards your own internal world.
Block pre-payments and sacrifices
Any sacrifice of your own interests is an act of self-harm. It is important to note, by saying “your own interests” I mean only the essential interests like forgetting your own feelings in order to support others. It can also mean giving up on your own dreams while taking care of or wasting your precious time with someone else, who has never even made the attempt to invest as much time in you and actually has the power to take care of their own internal problems.
A healthy selfishness is an internal, full blockage of any “prepayments,” whether you give emotions or time with the belief that it is so self-understood and natural to get the same attitude back. Of course, I forget that we, “yogis” or aware and kind people, should always act selfless with no expectation of receiving a good attitude back. The truth is we all make prepayments, because it is the nature of our aware and kind selves. There is no way to fully give up on expectations, because they are the fuel and driving forces of our development in life.
Remember it might be, that you sacrifice your essential interests in an attempt to prove how good you are. However, there is simply no necessity to prove that. Stop doing it and just know that your greatness will be recognized at the right place, at the right time, and by the right “experts.”
Now, let’s become very practical. Try to forget about being selfless and 100% kind; you only harm yourself by acting in this way. I would suggest that you pair qualities in order to keep an internal balance. Develop yourself through self-love with time (which always includes a healthy selfishness) and then you can give much love to the world around you.
Reflect and try to pair these qualities:
- Balance loving-kindness with healthy boundaries. Learn to say “No”, limit your giving, and think about whether you might feel totally exhausted by the time your support is not required anymore. Your internal world is not a subway platform where everyone in trouble can take a nap to save themselves from the cold winds blowing outside
- Balance a wish to support with an awareness of your own energy levels. People and their inner problems drain your own energy like nothing else in this world. Keep it in mind when engaging in your next “I-want-to-support-you” or “I-want-to-change-your-life-for-the-better” conversation. A small portion of energy must always be kept for yourself. Do you remember the mask on the airplane?
- Take your expectations into account when acting. We are not selfless by nature. Expectations are a healthy driving force behind our development
I want to trigger these thoughts in you with this blog:
An excessive support of others is unhealthy. While doing it, we too often simply try to compensate for a shortage of self-worth. A healthy selfishness is an internal commitment to accept your own worth. You are precious, special, and great; a healthy selfishness will enable you to never doubt it.
This works by:
- kindly accepting yourself with love, as you are
- cherishing self-worth and self-respect
- keeping boundaries and closing some doors
you can let a deep love flow around you, which originates from your heart.
This deep love is a means to make this world a better place to live in. Cultivate a healthy selfishness whether you are a man or a woman, but make sure to put a mask on first before helping others in our heavily “depressurized” world. And please always be thankful for hard experiences, you are graduating from an elite university. Thanks a lot!