What is The Difference Between Self-Care and Selfish Care

pencils

So what’s the difference between self-care and selfish care?

We hear this a lot here at, Friend to Yourself.  It is a question that can feel like an attack but also an opportunity.  Some people laugh when they say it.  Others do more of a huff.  Self-care shares with selfish care the condition of taking.  That has potential to be confusing.

Let us start with musing, what happens when we give to someone who doesn’t value themselves?  We give and give and they take and take but there lacks the receipt of value, only matter.  The person receives.  The person however doesn’t perceive the, Why?

Once there was Fred.  Fred asked Carl, “Hey man, would you please ask him for me?”

Carl has a childhood school friend he has stayed in contact with through the years.  Carl’s school friend, whom he used to call “Weasle”, is now Attorney at Law, Craig Anderson.  As Carl has nurtured the relationship through the years, sometimes it was easy and fun, and sometimes he nurtured it because it was just smart.  They worked in the same circles.  Once they had shared love of basketball and although they no longer meet on the court, they still meet up.  Carl saw in Craig someone worth investing in through the years, sometimes what Carl invested into Craig was intuitive and other times more deliberate.  Carl considered Craig a valuable contact.

Fred said to Carl, “I just need some information.”  How did Carl respond?  What Carl had with Craig is friendship.  However, he also has “social collateral.”

I remember when I was growing up trying to understand how much money my dad had.  I’d ask him about it, which I now realize is not completely appropriate.  He’d always tell me he was rich because of all the friends he had.  He said, “People are always the best investment.  The people you know, the friendships you have, will always bring you much more than money will.”  It was an early sight into “social collateral.”  I did not get it then.  I didn’t see the appropriate and natural intermingling of what is personal with what is bank.

Fred was asking Carl for his hard earned bank.  Before handing this over, Carl wondered, “Toward what purpose?” “What will that take from the social collateral I have?”  “What will I get from this?”  Fred had a sense of these concerns but he pushed the thoughts away.  He didn’t bring it up openly.  He asked without planning on accounting for what he was asking for.  Is Fred doing selfish care?

Let’s put Fred and Carl on the other side of this page for now.  Let us introduce Susan.  Susan is Lucy’s sister.  Lucy is known as “Floozy Lucy” amongst certain company.  Susan has rescued Lucy many times from life-threat, from financial ruin, from chaos.  Susan gives emotions, money, time, and once even her car to Lucy.  As Lucy continues to self-sabotage, however, we have a word for what Susan is doing – “enabling.”  What if Lucy valued herself more? How the dynamics between Susan and Lucy might be different.  Lucy taking from Susan would be more of self-care perhaps.

Our culture says we need to give give give and the taking is more whispered about.  It is not applauded like a big donation to the church.  It doesn’t consider what taking had to occur to allow someone at some point in their life to be in a position to give.

Over Easter this year at a small church in Corona, CA, I saw one of the best resurrection plays I’ve ever seen, including that compared to what I saw at the Crystal Cathedral years ago. The music, the props, the acting, all amateure.  However, the energy in the room, the connection between the congregation and the stage, and especially the awareness of our Higher Power was intense.  Out of all of this, what hit me the strongest was that the Judeo-Christian culturally celebrates everything about our God who sacrifices, who lives for others, who gives gives gives… but the whole point of what S/He did and does is Me.  Everything about God is His value for Me.  Without Me, that whole story is pretty mute.

Now put God in Carl’s position with Me.  Put God in Susan’s place.  Why would God want someone who gives to others but doesn’t take?  And take well, know they are a person of value.  The taking reflects quite a bit on the Giver.  The taking reflects quite a bit on the taker as well.

Take to grow your sense of personal value.  Take with increased self-awareness of your personal value.  Take to reflect on your connections well.  Take to be a better giver.

These are thoughts I’ve been rolling around.  What do you think?

questions:  What’s the difference between selfish care and self-care?  How do you take with a sense of your own value?  How does taking reflect on those you are connected to?  Please tell us your story.

Self-Care Tip:  Take to be a friend to yourself.  Keep on.

9 thoughts on “What is The Difference Between Self-Care and Selfish Care

  1. Sana your post was very thought provoking! We NEED to value ourselves enough to take and not feel guilty. Why is it that we give, give, give and when we have nothing else to give its so hard for us to take?

    • Thank you Carl for speaking and for your voice. “whole enough to be available to others.” speak.
      how do you retain the Magic in this exchange without losing the deliberate accounting efforts that make it possible?
      keep on!

  2. I read this quote before and I like to share it with you:

    “To laugh often and love much; to win the respect of intelligent persons and the affection of children; to earn the approbation of honest citizens and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to give of one’s self; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to have played and laughed with enthusiasm and sung with exultation; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived – this is to have succeeded.”

    — Ralph Waldo Emerson

    I think we take care of our self well when we find ourselves living this kind of life regardless of our circumstances. This of course if we stay away from all the forbidden.

    • thank you very much joanna for speaking out. especially resonant, “when we find ourselves living this kind of life regardless of our circumstances”.
      how did these paths intersect and become intertwined in your life when you discovered your own kind of life living and circumstance?
      keep on!

  3. I am able to live these paths because my husband is not materialistic and not very protective. I get in trouble when people know that about him so I start being in conflict because it bothers me when people take advantage of us and our marriage.
    Regarding this quote, the first time I read it was when I was at Barnes and Noble during my first dates with my husband!

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