Through various points in my life, I’ve had several people call me selfish, mostly by men. In every instance, I was called that I immediately felt bad about myself and my actions. Being called selfish has a negative connotation. No one wants to intentionally mistreat or disappoint people you care about. In turn I developed a bad habit of people-pleasing, saying yes to things I really didn’t want to do, and neglecting my feelings, desires, and needs in an effort to not hurt others.
My experience as a Christian only exasperated my guilt. We are taught to be selfless and to be of service to one another. However, many people take advantage of this pronouncement and will use manipulation tactics to get you to do what they want. But God never meant for us to be a doormat for others to walk upon. And the truth of the matter is that we can’t be of service to anyone when we’re depleted, tired, dejected, and taken advantage of. As I started on my journey to be my best self I realized that my past actions weren’t selfish, it was self-preservation. In every instance I was doing what was best for me at that given time. It’s true that being in relationship with others requires work and compromise. But one should never feel obligated to give themselves completely to someone who refuses to meet their needs. And you can be certain that whenever you impose boundaries or hold other people accountable for how they treat you, you will be labeled as selfish. It’s important to know your worth and your value and to be ok with stepping away from anyone who fails to see it. Setting boundaries and insisting on your self-care is not selfish so let me affirm of you of some truths.
It’s ok to say no to people who only call you when they have a need.
It’s ok to remove people who lie and abuse your trust.
It’s ok to say you deserve better.
It’s ok to put yourself first.
It’s ok to walk away from anyone or anything that is no longer serving your needs.
You don’t have to feel guilty for prioritizing your wants, needs, and desires.
Taking care of yourself allows you to show up better for the people you love.
I am going to always choose myself and I am fully aware that in doing so I will upset others along the way. But that’s what self-care, self-love,, and self-preservation look like.
Have you ever been called selfish for choosing yourself over others? If so, did you feel guilty about it?
Photo by: @bodybendyoga