In a society, where we are constantly told about the importance of values such as compassion towards others, love for all, respect for the elderly, kindness towards the poor, needy and weak, can we ever dare to be selfish and think of our own self first? Does the word selfish make you feel guilty? Do you wonder if selfishness is really such a crime? In this post, we will make an attempt to differentiate between selfishness and self-lovingness, and how we can learn to practice this love for ourselves.
In Asian cultures, we have been conditioned to put others first and ourselves second, and women even more so than men. Both men and women in Asian cultures, have been taught to sacrifice their wants and desires for the wants and desires of parents, family and even society. Further women, have been taught to always put their own needs, wants and desires last – after family, husband, children, house etc.
We have been made to believe that sacrifice and suffering is honourable, and if we seek to make ourselves happy then we are in some way being “dishonorable”. This is far from the truth, and it is time for us all, to learn to put love for ourselves as our primary goal. We cannot give to others from an empty cup. That is why it is so painful to keep giving and giving, when we haven’t learnt to take care of our own energy by giving love to ourselves first – says Author and Life Coach, Jasrin Singh.
Crucifying our own happiness, for the sake of making others happy, is as unkind and uncompassionate to ourselves, as it would be if we were being disregarding to someone else. If we want to learn to be kind, compassionate and respectful of others, then we must learn to first give that kindness, compassion and respect to our own human-self first. It is only then that we can genuinely give to others from a place of love and reverence for all humanity, instead of actions guided by guilt, shame, fear and a false sense of responsibility.
Imagine, we all have an inner child within us. That child which is an aspect of our own consciousness needs a lot of love and care. When we repeatedly ignore our own needs and inner desires for others, the little child inside the grown-up you becomes unhappy. It may shed tears you may not see, and scream at you, but you may not hear. This hidden sadness soon turns into grudges, irritation, anger, and never-ending resentment that may lead to depression. On the other hand, when we are aware of this aspect of our being, we will learn to take care of him or her, the same way as our own children, or someone we love dearly. Then there is peace on the inside. You stop fighting with yourself. Inner conflict resolves. Energy is freed up, and you have an overflowing cup. Now you can give to others generously.
So, lets replace the word selfishness with self-lovingness, and teach our future generations to learn to take care of their own needs so they can thrive and have a fulfilled life, instead of one filled with guilt, anger, shame and resentment. Let us become the role models for our sons and daughters says Jasrin Singh. Some ways we can practice self loving ness
1. Learn to say No when you are tired, overwhelmed, stressed -even when it is uncomfortable 2. Draw healthy boundaries at home with family, and at work with your managers and colleagues 3. Take care of your own body, mind and spirit by investing time in yourself 4. Spend time by yourself 5. Regularly check in with your inner child, by writing down your inner most feelings and allowing them to flow through. 6. Regularly talk to people who can support you – therapist, coach, spiritual teacher etc.