• Wendy Lee Johnson

Self-care vs Selfish

Updated: Jan 31, 2020

Most of our moms didn’t model self-care. They gave to others at their own expense, usually for their entire lives. We are finishing decades of caring for our families and putting others needs before our own.

The sun is setting on an incredible chapter.

You Are at a Crossroads

Your kids have mostly moved out and maybe your husband as well. When you're asked what it is you want to do with your life, you stumble over an answer and realize you have no idea. Many of your emotional and physical needs have simply gone unattended to. You find yourself out of touch with your feelings and out of touch with your body.

Looking back, I didn’t consider my own needs a priority because it was just “easier” to keep serving everyone else. It seemed like the right thing to do. I jumped into the fray everyday and set aside the exhaustion and resentment I was creating inside. It had the side bonus of feeling “selfless”, with a little touch of "martyr." I thought this was the way. In fact, it felt like I was doing something wrong when I put myself first.

You can only give to others from your surplus, from a well that you fill yourself. In order to give to others, you have to give to yourself first.

Have you ever noticed, when you're a hot mess, you can't exactly show up well for others. How well can you give when you're spinning up in drama or not sleeping well or entirely overbooked and out of whack? You just can't deliver. If you have a great desire to give, meet your personal needs first so you have something to give. You get to decide how well you are going to address your needs. This will have a huge impact on how the next half of your life goes.

Putting Yourself First May Look Like
  • Take time everyday to look at your thoughts

  • Check in often on how you are really feeling

  • Plan your day to include down time, leisure and things you love to do

  • Look at your own problems first and work on solutions

  • Be able to say no and stop serving out of obligation

  • Say yes to what you can freely give

When Saying No is Right For You

When someone asks you to do something for them and you choose to say no, how do you make peace with that? Telling the truth means that you may have to say "no." When you are authentic about how you show up, what you give is true and real. Saying no can save you from an untruthful “yes.” If you are saying yes to please others or for outside validation or out of obligation, you may want to reconsider.

If you learn to be selfless with yourself, that will lead to being selfless with others, in the truest and most generous of ways. When others ask and you say yes, they will be getting all of you, all the love, energy and focus. If you say no, they may be disappointed or let down, but maybe that's okay. You have decided not to disappoint or let yourself down. When you have a full reservoir, you can then give freely from the spillway.

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