Self-Love Is Not Selfishness
Question from a reader:
This is most likely a boundaries issue. I wrote quite a bit about this last week. In your case, it’s probably an example of weak personal boundaries.
“For some reason, my quiet soul draws strong, demanding people in my life! It seems they only want me around when they need something from me. Some have also talked down to me in sarcastic ways or do not listen when I speak up. I am starting to get fed up with people like this! My question is how to not attract people like this in the first place and what do I do with the ones I have in my life right now? Thank you!”
The first question I have to ask is, have you ever felt obligated to give people what they want? So that you don’t rock that boat, or so that people will like you, and so that you don’t upset the status quo in any way? Perhaps you just don’t want to draw negative attention to yourself, so you attempt to be as agreeable as possible. Or maybe you find yourself biting your tongue often, and not saying what you really feel, because you were told that if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.
In order for you to attract people who take your power away, you have to already be willing to stop giving it away! People will only continue to treat you in a certain way as long as you allow them to.
In many instances when this occurs, I find that people with weak or porous boundaries often have a distorted view of self-love and selfishness. Sometimes they believe that telling another person no is selfish and they think that they shouldn’t do that.
Here’s a hypothetical scenario. Think about what you would do in this situation:
Your cousin asks you if you can babysit her kids. Her kids are super hyper active and a handful. In addition, you’re sick and you really don’t have the energy to do it. You can think of a million reasons why you just don’t want to, but you say yes anyway, because it’s a family member and you feel obligated. Or maybe you feel selfish if you say no.
Does this sound like something you would do? If so, you’re putting your own needs beneath the needs of others.
The general mindset is one that believes you should sacrifice your own happiness or well being for that of other people. And most people who have this mindset believe that it’s a noble thing to do, and anyone who doesn’t do that is inherently selfish.
But what good is it to sacrifice your own needs? It doesn’t help you, and it tells the universe that you value yourself less than you value anyone else. You don’t have to value yourself more than anyone else, you just need to value yourself just as much as anyone else.
The most obvious solution to this situation is to start living authentically and being emotionally honest. You don’t have to express negative emotions in a destructive way. You just need to be honest about how you feel and be able to express those feelings constructively and stop being afraid of how other people will react. You are responsible for your emotions and reactions. They are responsible for their emotions and reactions.
This will most likely be difficult to do though, because there’s usually a reason why you’ve grown into these self-sacrificing habits. One common reason is a lack of self-love resultant from unhealed trauma. We do not see ourselves as being worthy of love, and we don’t give it to ourselves, so instead we seek the approval of others and we need that validation to feel good about ourselves. This results in constant people-pleasing, codependent behavior and ultimately, giving your power away and sacrificing yourself and your needs in exchange for validation and acceptance.
You’ll stop attracting those people the moment you start valuing yourself, learn how to identify early on when someone doesn’t respect boundaries, and the ones who are in your life, currently, will stop treating you that way the moment you stand up for yourself–unless they are chronically abusive, in which case they may never change their behavior, but you will no longer tolerate it.
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