Loving Oneself is Not Selfish!By Sylvia Poareo, M.A.
November 14, 2007
Have you been taught that taking care of yourself is selfish? Discover how the opposite is true!
I am deeply blessed to be part of a women's circle of loving, conscious and growing women, many of whom are also mothers. Tonight we were reflecting on the lie many of us have integrated that "to focus on oneself is selfish."
As women, and as mothers, even though many of us would dispute it consciously, that lie runs deep and results in us feeling guilty for any personal needs and time away from responsibility. It is often so difficult to find the time and space we need to center ourselves and recharge.
Yet, as we went around our circle it was so clear that every time one of us took a step toward self care the result was always more loving interactions, a more generous spirit with others and feelings of Peace and Joy. A friend who nurtured herself through exercise and creative education, is now entering her first triathlon (being a great role model) and creating beautiful pictures and stories for her children. Another mother who has focused on making sure she has a plan for 'me time' every afternoon finds herself playing, dancing and laughing with her children the rest of the afternoon. This illustrates one of my favorite parenting mantras from Margaret "What is most loving to you is always the most loving for your children."
And it is not only about making the time for self-care but also what we believe about our being worthy of such nurture and love. This morning as I held my two year old daughter Mayela, I was very aware of my deep and profound love, admiration and commitment to her. What has she done to deserve this? Nothing. She simply IS her fullest expression of light from the minute she wakes up; pure JOY, curiosity and intensity. My heart fills with love for her just at the thought of who she is. I pondered with my friends how we would all speak to and treat ourselves if we felt this love toward our own beautiful souls. We would definitely expect loving and respectful treatment and make time for much more self-nurture and self-expression!
To call this selfish is a profane distortion of the truth. Would I call Maya selfish or self-centered for believing the same wonderful things about herself that I know to be true about her? No, I would feel thrilled that she could see herself and know the beauty of her essence!!
I am so grateful for this gift of being a mother, to know this level of Love and practice turning it inward. My inner little girl leaps and thrills when I do this, saying "Yes, yes this is what I need, yes yes this is what makes me feel alive!" The true Presence and energy I then have for my 'outer' children is such a clear indication of what really is Loving (and never selfish) to all of us. And then there are the giggles and shining smiles on my children's faces that leave me without a doubt!
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When being loving, we are not grasping, demanding, needy or clingy, because love has nothing to do with getting or taking. We give freely, to ourselves and to others. We also receive graciously when the gift is freely given. When being unloving, we may try to manipulate a gift - whether it be of time, money, attention, emotional support, approval, sex or affection - but when we are loving we know that a gift not freely given is not really a gift. Notice when you are being loving or unloving.
By Dr. Margaret Paul