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Practicing Being Selfish = Self Nurturing

by Evolving Stacey on September 26, 2008

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As a continuation from my last post

I’m trying to decide if “Being Selfish” is too strong or if it implies the wrong message. Maybe the bold statement of Being Selfish is intriguing and will push people in the right direction. Maybe I’ll insult those that have been hurt by selfish people in the past. Maybe it’s better to call the practice of being selfish the practice of Self Nurturing.

Steve Pavlina wrote an excellent post on the importance of balancing service to self (STS) and service to others (STO). Here’s a clip…

“In order for humans to survive, STS and STO must be in balance. If we became totally STS but not STO, we wouldn’t care for our young (among other problems), and we’d eventually die off.  If we became totally STO but not STS, we’d fail to take care of our basic needs and would probably die from neglecting our health. In order to be optimally STS, you must be at least partially STO. And in order to be optimally STO, you must be at least partially STS. Sometimes being selfish is the most selfless thing you can do, and vice versa. If you want to serve the greater good, you have to serve your own needs. You have to take care of your health, your financial needs, your education, etc. If you want to serve your own interests, you need to support the community around you which will help you succeed. At the very least you may do this financially, by buying products and services from other people.”
~Steve Pavlina, How Selfish Are You~

The wise contributors of the Create a Balance community also had plenty to say about the practice of being selfish (click here to read all the comments). 

  1. ~ Vered - MomGrind
    “For moms especially, there’s the temptation to let ourselves go and completely focus on our family.”
  2. ~ Barbara SwaffordBlogging without a Blog
    “By being selfish we can gain more respect. It shows we love ourselves and teaches our friends and children we’re not a doormat.”
  3. ~ LanceJungle of Life
    “We have to put ourselves first if we want to really have the life we desire.”
  4. ~ Avani-Mehta - avani-mehta.com 
    “I started seeing these kinds of selfish activities as self nourishing and that changed a lot of things in my life.”
  5. ~ Evelyn Lim - Attraction Mind Map
    “So there will be times when I opt out of family outings so that I can have the chance to nurture my soul, meditate or do the things I feel happy in on my own.”
  6. ~ Maya - Think Maya
    “I term being selfish as taking care of myself. Being selfish is actually a pretty selfless thing to do …it is one of my favorite paradoxes in life.”
  7. ~ J.D. Meier - Sources of Insight
    “If you can’t take care of yourself, you can’t take care of other people. The better you can take care of yourself, the better you can take care of other people.”
  8. ~MizFit - MizFit Online
    “I need this time to be able to GIVE all day long.”
  9. ~Annette - Annette’s Awakening
    “When I give myself that me time on a daily basis, it in turn, makes me a better mommy and wife. I don’t consider it selfish, just a need like eating or sleeping!”
  10. ~ Stacey Shipman - Let it Flow
    “If you aren’t replenishing your personal mind/body you don’t have the energy that is required for caring for others. You have to take some time to replenish!”

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Annette September 26, 2008 at 7:35 am

I plan on getting my daily dose of self-nurturing in very soon this morning ;) and looking forward to it. Although, I wouldn’t mind being the woman in the picture right now too.

Hubby and I were talking about our 8th anniversary coming up at the beginning of Dec. We discussed going in for massages at the spa and a manicure(Ok….they won’t paint hubby’s nails pink, but he could use a little work!) and then off to a nice dinner!

To me, that would be better than spending money on a gift.

Lance September 26, 2008 at 7:37 am

This has me thinking today Stacey – how am I doing at balancing taking care of myself and taking care of others. Or service to self vs. to other. Is it in balance. Something Stacey Shipman said in her comment on the other post resonated with me. Financially, we have to balance – spending vs. earning. This is something real and tangible. We see it. In our bank accounts. And in the “stuff” we buy. For me, that’s easier – to balance myself financially. Why? Because I can see it. To be in balance internally – something we don’t necessarily “see” can be harder. It doesn’t “have” to be done. And therein, I believe, is why that can be neglected – our self nurturing. It’s not urgent (like a looming mortgage payment). But it is just as important, in fact, more important. We need to remember that…

And…you do have a very wise group of commenters here! Much wisdom was added to the thought-provoking discussion you started. To be included amongst this group is an honor.

Lances last blog post..Spread Your Wings and Fly

Carla September 26, 2008 at 10:55 am

Excessive STO can lead to unhealthy choices that we think is STS, but it’s only an illusion. For instance, people who reward themselves with excessive purchases, food and unhealthy relationships. I think for me, the balance is needed so as to not go too far in one direction and make unhealthy choices.

Carlas last blog post..Alternatives to fabric softeners

Evelyn Lim September 26, 2008 at 11:48 am

Thanks for the link love.

I try to strike a balance by specifying and negotiating a routine whereby I can get my own quiet time. It’s a give and take really. Best part is everyone is happy!

Evelyn Lims last blog post..Building The Businesses Of Our Dreams

Mark Salinas September 26, 2008 at 11:50 am

I think we need to take care of ourselves if we are to be at our best for others. A positive attitude is contagious! I like your site…very nice!

Mark Salinass last blog post..Daily Life Challenge

Barbara Swafford September 26, 2008 at 12:09 pm

Hi Stacey – It’s often a fine line we walk when talking about STO and STS, but I do think we need to take care of ourselves first.

Thanks for the mention.

Barbara Swaffords last blog post..Signs of A Blogoholic

Avani-Mehta September 26, 2008 at 12:28 pm

Stacey, I am glad you highlighted these comments, I had missed some very valuable ones.

Surprisingly for me, I usually sway between STO and STS mode. Giving time everyday to both is at times not possible however balance is there when you average out :)

Avani-Mehtas last blog post..How To Pick Your First Anger Management Area – Anger Management Series Part IV

Vered - MomGrind September 26, 2008 at 1:44 pm

Whether you call it selfishness or self-nurturing, it’s the same message to me, and I agree with it completely.

Thank you very much for the link.

Vered – MomGrinds last blog post..Saw “Burn After Reading”. Non-Botoxed Actresses. Awesome.

Marelisa September 26, 2008 at 5:47 pm

You have a lot of bright readers Stacey :-) I agree that it’s necessary to take “me” time and make sure that you’re nurturing yourself. I think that in a way we learn how to nurture others by nurturing ourselves. I also think that people who are kind to themselves are more likely to be kind to others.

Marelisas last blog post..Three Awesome Productivity Tips

Stacey / CreateaBalance September 26, 2008 at 10:09 pm

@Annette – That sounds like a blissful way to celebrate your anniversary.

@Lance – I have also been thinking about how I am dong at balancing taking care of myself and taking care of others. Part of my dream is to build a tool to help people virtually see their life balance (note to all – I think this falls under intellectual property). I want to write more about it…but I’m afraid someone will swoop up and steal my ideas. Am I the only one who feels this way? Okay – now I’m going off tangent.

@Carla – Welcome to CreateaBalance.com. I agree, not going too far in any one direction is key. I see this as “setting limits”.

@Evelyn – I’ve said it before, you are an inspiration. Thanks for sharing.

@Mark – Welcome!! I am enjoying your website too. A positive attitude is contagious! It’s one reason why I love this community so much.

@Barbara – Thanks for sharing. Taking care of ourselves is so important.

@Avani-Mehta – Glad you were able to read the comments you missed. I’m blessed to be able to interact with so many amazing people within the Create a Balance community (including you)!

@Vered – Thanks for the feedback. And I’m so happy your friend’s son is home safe.

@Marelisa – I love the concept of learning how to nurture others by nurturing ourselves. That’s very true!

Maya September 27, 2008 at 1:24 am

Thank you for that link, Stacey. And for a recap on the comments from your earlier post.

This is the reason I have a love-hate relationship with the blog world…I read a post and then go off reading a whole bunch of other things on the internet. And then I analyze it all …and then some more…

And you also got me thinking about the other end of things … my STO is mostly a selfish act … very few things in life give me as much joy as STO does. So, in a lot of ways, STO is very much my STS.

Thank you for such an interesting post!

Davina September 27, 2008 at 2:49 am

Hi Stacey. I think blogging can exercise a balance between STO and STS. It is evident right here in this comment section. I’m assuming that you are blogging because you enjoy it and it feeds you in some way (STS). And you enjoy reaching out and sharing information to help other people (STO). The same goes for those who leave comments. They are enjoying what they do and they are supporting your blog at the same time.

Davinas last blog post..Free Spirit My Ass!

Stacey Shipman September 27, 2008 at 6:24 am

Thank you for the link!

Last week I went for a run and a life balance thought popped into my head: me vs them.

I started thinking of taking care of me vs taking care of everything and everyone else – family, friends, work, clients, my cats, my home…. there is a LOT more of THEM. I realize “me vs them” is a defensive perspective, but it was a clear way for me to think about it. I’m not convinced we can achieve balance by bringing equal parts into our lives. I think balance has to be about being ok with where you are, what you have, with your choices and the idea that replenishing yourself is an important activity. Maybe finding balance is really about giving yourself a break once in a while to re-energize!

MizFit September 28, 2008 at 6:08 am

THANKS FOR YANKING OUT ALL THOSE COMMENTS (and for sharing mine).

I was coming back to read em…

MizFits last blog post..The Other Side of the Couch: Mother Warriors.

J.D. Meier September 28, 2008 at 11:54 pm

Service to Self improves your Strength to Share.

I like the way you juxtaposed the insights — the sum is more than the parts and the perspectives are complimentary.

Thanks for the mention.

J.D. Meiers last blog post..Label What is Right with Things

sharon September 29, 2008 at 2:35 pm

Self nurturing certainly sounds less ‘selfish’ than selfish. Another suggestion is the word self-worth. Self worth refers to self-love, self love etc. Its all about valuing oneself. Why should you not value you? Placing value in your uniqueness should be our starting point.

chris September 29, 2008 at 4:58 pm

My wife is at her best when she takes care of herself first and we, myself and my children, also feel better when we see her radiating with beauty and confidence.

Stacey / CreateaBalance September 29, 2008 at 5:41 pm

@Maya – This is the first time I recapped previous comments. From what I can gather, it was embraced by readers. The more I think about it, in many ways, my STO is also very much part of my STS.

@Davina – Perfectly stated. Thank you so much for this thought provoking comment.

@Stacey Shipman – I agree that creating a balance does not mean bringing equal parts into our lives. In a way, it’s making sure you are embracing your sense of self and your needs while meeting the demands of the rest of the world.

@MizFit – Hope you enjoyed all the wise comments!

@J.D. – I agree the sum is more than the parts. This blog is more powerful and impactful because of all of the amazing people who contribute to the community. I firmly believe this.

@Sharon – Thanks for your insight.”Self Worth” – I like that!

Robin September 29, 2008 at 7:55 pm

Good one Stacey – I wish I had not been having internet and family problems, so I could have visited earlier. All very well said!

Robins last blog post..Ice And Global Warming

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