Do you know somebody that always seems to succeed? Do you look to that person and just know they are awesome, and of course they are successful?
How come it’s so much easier to look to others and see the greatness in them, but not in ourselves?
A great deal of this comes from a rather epic lack of self-care, self-knowledge, and a misunderstanding of the line between selfish and selfless.
What is self-care?
Self-care is exactly what it says it is. Care for the self. This occurs on three distinct levels — physical, mental, and spiritual.
Physical self-care includes hydration, eating healthy, exercise, and any other activities that impact the body. These meat popsicles we are running around the planet within require care and attention. Yes, we often neglect our bodies due to any number of other reasons, likely the most frequent being a belief in a lack of time.
Mental self-care involves reading, journaling, learning new things, practicing existing skills, and anything that improves the mind. In a constantly-changing Universe, our minds require both stimulation and mental exercise. Use it or lose it is not incorrect, per se. The more we work on our mental powers, the more we empower ourselves, and care for ourselves.
Spiritual self-care involves meditation, yoga, faith, belief, and taking time to address our inner energy. This is the core energy inside the meat popsicles we wander this world within, and it needs to also be looked after. It is your moral compass and inner guide.
There are plenty of things that impact the physical, mental, and spiritual. Yoga, massage, a good hot shower, relaxing in a hot tub, and any other activity where you can think, feel, and care for your physical body.
Self-care is relatively easy, and practicing it can go a long ways towards being more mindful and feeling more empowered. You are the only you that there is, and your self-care shouldn’t be neglected.
What is self-knowledge?
This is also exactly what it says it is. Knowledge of the self. It is recognizing your idiosyncrasies, your highs and lows, that which makes you, you. It is seeing and knowing your habits, what you like and dislike, and overall awareness of who you are.
The best path to self-knowledge is mindfulness. Specifically, mindfulness of what you are thinking, and how and what you are feeling. This matters because, in the grand scheme of things, the only things over which you have even the slightest possibility of any control are your thoughts and feelings.
As Polonius in Shakespeare’s Hamlet said,
“This above all — to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.”
Knowing who you are, and being mindful and aware of that can help you to recognize your own strengths, talents, and overall awesomeness. Being knowledgeable about yourself can help you to also better see awesomeness in others, and to do more for the world overall.
What is the line between selfish and selfless?
This is a tad more subjective. However, it’s important to define selfish.
Selfish is not just a concern for the self and what will help and benefit you alone, but also the disregard of the interests and needs of others.
Let’s say you have a pizza. You are sharing it with eight friends, and there are eight slices. Taking a slice of pizza is not selfish. Taking two slices of pizza is. But the act of feeding yourself with a slice of pizza you paid into is not selfish.
We are absolutely overwhelmed with stories of extreme greed, narcissism, unkindness, victimization, and takers giving nothing to anyone. As such, it’s all too easy to see any act that benefits the self as selfish. But that’s not how it works. Selfishness denies others, and comes from a place of lack and scarcity.
Selfless is generosity. It is giving from a full heart, and helping others live best. However, it’s important to be mindful of sacrifice. Sacrifice is not selfless, and in fact can be selfish.
How does that work? Same pizza. You give your slice away so that your friend can have two — but now you are cranky and hungry because you didn’t get pizza. You whine until you get your money back, and expect next time your friend will give YOU two slices. The sacrifice, as such, leads to resentment, which can lead to selfishness.
Selfless would be paying for the slice for the friend who has no cash. You sacrifice nothing. Selfless is an act of abundance, seeing that there is more than enough for everyone, including yourself.
Seeing the greatness in yourself
We live in an abundant Universe. The world of lack and scarcity we are constantly presented with is an artifice created by the selfish to maintain control.
Being selfless with time, energy, friendship and the like, and not going without, means that performing acts of self-care and self-knowledge are not selfish. When we care for ourselves in these ways, we can better recognize the greatness in ourselves.
It is not selfish to see that you are a great, worthy, and deserving person. You have every right to be happy and successful. Expecting success from yourself is not selfish.
That person that you think of as always succeeding and being awesome can be you, too. That does not make you a bad, greedy, or selfish person.
It can be challenging to care for and maintain knowledge of the self. Sometimes it feels selfish, but it is still necessary and healthy. Know that you are worthy and deserving of feeling good about yourself and being the best you that you can be.
Be mindful and aware of your own awesomeness when you look at the greatness of another. You can do incredible things with self-care and self-knowledge without being selfish. You can do nearly anything you put your mind and heart to. Think and act from abundance, and you can draw more to you.
Can you see the greatness in yourself?