Your Life: Selfishness or self care?

Charlotte Lankard: The line between selfishness and self care hinges on considering others when acting on personal interests.
By CHARLOTTE LANKARD Modified: August 18, 2012 at 7:33 pm •  Published: August 20, 2012

“Ironically, those who label others as selfish are actually concerned with their own well-being,” says Mike Dooley, former PricewaterhouseCoopers international tax consultant, turned entrepreneur.

For many people, being called selfish stops them from taking care of themselves, whether that message comes from another person or from inside their own head.

There is a difference between selfishness and self-care, but it is often a fine line, at times difficult to grasp and different for different people.

The dictionary definition of the word “selfishness” is concern with one's own interests.

Self care is also concern for one's own interests, but it takes into consideration how one's behavior will affect others. Perhaps that could be called wisely selfish?

Too many are in the habit of depriving and neglecting themselves, pushing too hard and becoming whiners and martyrs — irritable and angry with everyone around them.

Consider how you take care of your house. You take out the garbage, routinely clean and make it attractive and comfortable which affects others in the family in a positive way. Why not do the same for yourself?

That means you don't give excuses for feeling tired, crying or taking a nap. You care for yourself without guilt, shame or blame, and the doing of it makes you more pleasant to be around.

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