They Call It Selfish, I Call It Self-love5 min read

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Many times I have been called selfish for putting myself before others. I used to feel wounded by such remarks, but not anymore. This is because I’ve learned to love myself, rather than trying to please others in hopes of being loved.

When I think back on my journey to self-love, one memory stands out. It was the memory of a past relationship. Past relationships left me wary, so I was extra cautious when I met this new guy. I wanted us to grow from friends to lovers but he was hellbent on an immediate romantic spark.

He was all shades of nice. He often calls, sends gifts, and visits. However, I dislike excessive visits because I crave solitude like my favourite snack. Also, I could not afford to buy him gifts or offer him the things he wanted. In retaliation, he often used the word ‘selfish’ to define my actions. With time, I began to do my best to please him.

The constant pressure to appease him chipped away at my very being – my time, resources, and mental health were consumed by the effort to meet his expectations. The emotional strain became unbearable, and my own identity dissolved in the pursuit of his happiness. 

Breaking up was tough because I did not want to be called selfish, however, after a period of radical thinking and acceptance I let go,  even if the whole world will call me selfish. I knew I wasn’t. I loved myself too much to let negativity drown me.

What Is Self-love?

Self-love sounds selfish and may even appear so, but it is not. It is you prioritizing yourself, and your needs over pleasing people. Self-love is about total care of your physical, psychological, and emotional health. It helps you become an actualized version of yourself.

You are not selfish when you say ‘no’ to others or choose yourself. Most persons suffer from the ‘fear of selfishness’ which is why they find it difficult to set clear boundaries or even let go even when they are being hurt. 

Why You Shouldn’t Listen To People Who Call You Selfish

People may call it selfishness when you do not please them because they want you to put them first. But if you do so, what happens to you? 

Because they want to be at the receiving end, they label your self-priority, compassion, and empathy as selfishness. 

On the contrary, not doing what they want, but rather prioritizing and putting yourself first shows that you are self-aware and helps you stop being a people pleaser and a perfectionist.

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How To Love Yourself Even More

To love yourself more, you need to understand that self-love is a journey towards self-care and acceptance. It involves embracing your imperfections and flaws; being less judgemental about yourself and not being hard on yourself. Here are practical strategies on how to show self-love:

  • Be kind to yourself: Cultivate the habit of understanding and treating yourself with compassion especially when facing difficulties 
  • Set boundaries: Understand that saying ‘no’ when needed isn’t selfish. It is you preserving your inner being. It allows you to choose yourself more and prioritize your time. It stops you from compromising. 
  • Self-appraise: Appreciate the positive aspects of your life, with this, you build a more positive mindset. 
  • Practice self-care: Do things that make you happy. Always celebrate your wins no matter how small. It shapes your self-worth and teaches you the importance of little things. Avoid toxic people and things that trifle with your self-esteem

Conclusion: You Shouldn’t Feel Guilty Prioritizing Yourself

My self-love journey has helped me build emotional intelligence and resilience as I no longer let people’s negative labels get to me and I know that I’m not selfish. My ‘me’ time is mine and I don’t have to struggle to say no with any attachment of guilt because I have learned how to effectively set healthy boundaries

I have also learned true happiness comes from my own self-perception, not others’ approval. I have become more self-assured choosing to please me above all and embracing my self-worth which is more fulfilling.

The journey of self-love is a life-changing process of letting go of self-doubt, boosting self-esteem, and knowing your true worth which leads to self-acceptance and approval. 

Always remember loving yourself is key to leading a happy and fulfilled life. As someone once said on LinkedIn, “If loving myself means selfish, then I will selfishly love myself.”

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