How to Love Yourself Without Being Selfish

by Funmi // in Self Care

How to love yourself without being selfish and self-centred? It takes time to understand yourself better and evolve into unselfishness. The ability to love yourself is one of the most important things in life. If you don't know how to love yourself, then it is impossible for you to fully love somebody else.

Society without consideration most times very easily places a selfish tag on those who choose to put themselves first for whatever reason and women are on top of this list. 

The encouragement of self-effacement and sacrifice has pushed many to the far end of the spectrum, leaving them in a detrimental state of self-abandon in an attempt to be selfless.

The apparent thin line between selfishness and self-love is wide enough for anyone to see and for a middle-ground to be established. You simply cannot put your own life, health and happiness at stake to display generosity.

Yet, hoarding all your good deeds and caring about yourself alone will not only ruin your relationship with other people but rob you of the fulfilment of helping out. So, I will be helping you find that balance and give you 9 ways to love yourself without being selfish. 

1. Do things you genuinely love doing

Many times, we spend the bulk of our time working for an employer, being there for family and friends, running errands for everyone else but have only a little time for ourselves to do what we love doing.

What is that thing you can do for say a few minutes a day or once a week that focuses on only you? You deserve this and you need it. Remember those hobbies you used to do simply because you loved doing them and were a source of joy to you?

Yeah, those ones, before the responsibility of the whole universe fell on your fragile shoulders. It might be simple things like singing, writing, dancing, sports, cooking, gardening etc. 

Understand that self-love is not selfish and it doesn’t rule out altruism and humility. Looking out for yourself is absolutely healthy and something we should all aspire to do.

Self-love is not exaggerating your own sense of importance or showing off, it’s more subtle, it’s inside you and only when you love and appreciate yourself can you truly extend it to those around you. 

Learn to create time for your happiness. Happiness may be found in those little things that are dear to us. 

2. Prioritize positive relationships and stay away from draining and toxic people

Spending time with people who are caring and supportive is one good way to care for you. This social support could come from family, friends, colleagues at work, church members and they help you become more resistant to stressing circumstances as they show their support.

Choose people that value you, people who are positive about life, people who contribute peace and happiness to your life.

Ensure that you communicate your intentions to those who care about you and also, listen to their advice and counsel.

Meanwhile, stay away from negative and toxic people. In this video, I gave 7 no-nonsense ways to deal with toxic people, check it out after this video. 

3. Eat healthily 

Be intentional about your diet. Don’t just go about eating everything and anything. Unhealthy eating speaks loudly about one’s self-abandonment and neglect.

If you’re responsible for cooking in a home, everyone in the home will benefit from your own self-care. You can positively influence the eating habits of those around you like your children or partner.

Go for healthy foods, real over-processed foods, cook them yourself if you have to – whole grain, veggies, lean protein, you know how the list goes. And if you don’t, do your research and commit to a healthy diet.

Avoid excessive snacking, soda and sugary foods. Drink more clean water and watch your body and mind transform.

4. Appreciate yourself and what you’ve achieved

From time to time, make a self gratitude list. Highlight your most important achievements both recently and a long time ago. If the list isn’t very long, include even the littlest successes you’ve had and praise yourself for them.

It’s easy to expect gratitude from outside us, but this time, look inwards and feel good about yourself by yourself.

Think of how you hit that target, how you started that business, how you’ve been an awesome mother, sister, friends, wife... how you’ve excelled in different areas of your life.

Meanwhile, don’t be overly critical of yourself and let go of perfectionism. If your own high standards only make you feel defeated, disappointed or frustrated, then give yourself a break.

Celebrate positive things about yourself, whether big or small.

5. If you earn, then spend on yourself

You don’t have to be defensive about your spending if you earn your own money. Honouring your needs isn’t selfish, in fact, giving in to your wants occasionally is not selfish. Treat yourself to something exquisite.

Buy something that you’d like to have, enjoy the life you live at every moment, do something nice for yourself. Dress and clean up yourself in ways that show you love yourself.

What is important is that you love yourself without being selfish and balance your actions so that they benefit you and others and rise above guilt.

You might also like:

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How to Love Yourself Without Being Selfish

6. Set healthy boundaries between yourself and others

It’s not good for you, yet not so bad. You want to say no but you can’t, because you don’t want to let that person down. Recognize that feeling? It’s a very familiar one, isn’t it? You can call it a ‘fear of selfishness syndrome.’

The fear of being selfish insists that you always do whatever it takes and costs you to help a person out even if it’s detrimental to your progress or wellbeing. In the end, it gets overwhelming and you can end up being resentful.

You need to recognize when to be self-attentive and when to be all out generous. This preserves your peace of mind and relationships with others. 

Don’t be guilt-tripped into doing something you would rather not do because it’s not entirely healthy for you.

Saying no is not disrespectful. It’s actually difficult to begin saying no to people who already have an expectation of what you should be.

But it can be necessary if you must preserve your peace. Tell people what you need to do. If you’re not up for a task for your own reasons and someone’s asking you to help out, let them know why and don’t feel guilty about it.

Don’t try to please everyone.  You’d be surprised that other people also understand that saying no doesn’t mean you dislike them or that you’re being disrespectful and if they don’t, they only disappoint themselves.

7. Believe in your own abilities and pursue your passions

An aspect of self-love we constantly need to be reminded of is the profitableness of believing in our abilities.

When we do, we set ourselves up for success and progress which ultimately means we find happiness and fulfilment.

We develop ourselves when we freely pursue our passions; we find purpose and happiness in what we do. 

8. Don’t treat sleep, food or relaxation as optional

In other words, don’t neglect your health. The average daily routine is hectic. Many of us skip several meals, eat in a hurry or eat out of necessity rather than comfort. We sleep very little and have the busiest schedules.

All these accumulate into an unhealthy lifestyle that doesn’t encourage productivity. Eventually, when we get to our breaking point, our bodies come crashing. You’re only less productive when you’re not fit body and soul. 

9. Ask for help when you need it

It’s good to be the strong woman and try to do it all by yourself but being ‘strong’ doesn’t mean you won’t seek help when you need it.

In fact, refusing to put across your needs to someone especially those who have a positive influence over you may be detrimental to you and your relationship with them.

No one really can do it all by themselves, understand that now and then, it’s totally okay to ask for help. And if you’re quick to extend a helping hand to others, you should give them the opportunity to do the same to you.

As noble as being extra selfless may seem, there’s no honour in neglecting yourself for it. Lack of self-love harms you. That’s not surprising, is it?

One study showed that one in six girls won’t do something they want to because they feel they aren’t good enough. This is just one adverse lack of self-love; it eats up your confidence slowly and set you up to fail others.

What’s worse? You find out that you’re accused of failing other people and even your own conscience haunts you.

ways to love yourself without being selfish

Final thought

While you want to be out playing heroine, please remember that you’re a person too and you can love yourself without all the guilt of selfishness pressing down on you like a heavy burden.

More Resources

Why self-love is important and how to cultivate it

5 Science-Backed Reasons It's Important To Love Yourself

About the author 


Funmi is a Certified Functional Health Coach. She is passionate about helping female entrepreneurs transform from Stress and burnout so they can begin to thrive in their body and, by extension, their businesses.

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