Self-care is becoming a more and more important topic these days, and it really needs to be. Although this ‘girl boss’ and ‘do it all mentality’ is good at getting **** done, it can’t be ignored that the extensive hours and effort can take its toll. That’s where ‘healthy selfishness’ comes in.
So what is ‘Healthy Selfishness’?
Selfish: [adjective] lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.
‘Selfish’ is a word that’s always been surrounded by negative press. It’s a trait our parents and teachers try to keep us from, encouraging us to share that last piece of cake or be considerate of other people’s feelings. I can see why – society would be a fairly isolated place if everyone was just concerned with number one. But are there times where selfishness is a good thing?
Healthy selfishness is the concept of taking some well-deserved time to put you first. I know first hand that trying to please everyone and be polite all the time, quite frankly, is knackering. It’s thinking about the breaks you need to keep going. Think of it like your phone. A certain phone manufacturer is renowned for having batteries that don’t last as long as you need it to, especially when you’re constantly refreshing emails, scrolling Instagram and streaming videos. At some point, you need to put your phone down and let it charge. You wouldn’t expect your phone battery to last forever without recharging, so how can you?
How do I practice ‘Healthy Selfishness’?
The easiest way – saying no. Now I’m not recommending you decline every request for help, but it’s choosing those moments where you know you can’t take something else on right now. Whether that’s a new project, an additional job role or just simply offering someone a lift somewhere. We’ve all had these moments… you say yes because you don’t want to let someone else down, but you just end up burning the candle at both ends.
It’s so easy to say ‘yes’. We often think if we say ‘no’ we need to have a good excuse. Why? Is it so wrong to just say ‘no’ to something isn’t convenient for us or we just don’t have the time?
‘Healthy selfishness’ isn’t about being rude, or inconsiderate, but thinking about you in the long run. You can’t say ‘yes’ to everything – as much as you want to. It’s taking that part inside of you that is so desperate to please people and occasionally putting it to one side to focus on you. It’s about being ‘self-focused’ rather than ‘self-involved’.
Other ways to practice ‘healthy selfishness’ include having some ‘you time’. Whether that’s having an early night or spending your hard earned cash on getting your nails done – give yourself a bloomin’ break.
Why is ‘Healthy Selfishness’ a good thing?
It’s a concept that can apply to so many different aspects of your life. In relationships, although you’re a partnership, you need to remember that you are your own person and you need to continue to grow as your own person. I’m sure you’ve seen examples of couples that have morphed into one being. It’s important to have your own life, your own wants and desires to ensure you don’t lose yourself in the long term, especially when you’re young.
‘Healthy selfishness’ plays a big role in having a work-life balance. There are an increasing number of people wanting to work for themselves these days. There’s no denying that takes a huge amount of dedication, hard work and focus. Especially in the early stages of your career or business, you want and need to put in the hours to reap the rewards in terms of career progression or financial gains.
Although working all hours of the day and night might seem like the way to get in your bosses’ good books or meet deadlines, don’t forget you need some time off to help increase your productivity in the long term. If you’re taking on so much at one time, are you really able to carry it out to the best of your ability? So the next time your boss asks you to take on another piece of work, think about whether saying ‘yes’ is going to require compromising on other projects or parts of your life.
It’s easy to feel guilty, especially if you’re a people pleaser like me. I want to say yes all the time. Sometimes, I think it’s more from wanting to be liked rather than actually having the desire to do something.
So start small. Try saying ‘no’ to giving someone a lift when you really need to get home. Try saying ‘no’ to that night you really don’t want to go on – stay in and watch Love Island. You know you want to.
Some treats to help you get started…
Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk Honey Bath • Laura Mercier • £33
NIP + FAB Dragons Blood Fix Hydration Mask 18g • Nip + Fab • £7.50
Essie Nail Polish in Too Too Hot • Essie • £7.99
NEOM Organics Tranquillity Standard Scented Candle • Neom • £30