Selfishness vs Self-Love

In one of my previous articles, I stated the importance of Self-love.

My Mom read through it and said, “Beta, I don’t like the part where you mentioned that you should only care about self and not others. I think you should be aware to see, love, and enjoy the world and people around you. If you are too self-focused, you will not be able to enjoy the world”.

I loved what she said because it opened a gateway for a vital conversation.

Most of us have the habit of confusing selfishness with self-love. I am sure that even the people of my generation feel a tinge of discomfort when I mention that I spend 4–6 hours of my weekend time for self-growth and to take proper care of myself (instead of attending to the needs of people around me).

Majority of my partner’s and my time is spent focusing on our individual needs and being self-complete before we spend time together, so that we avoid unhealthy co-dependency.

Below was my response to my Mom:

“That’s an excellent point, Ma. People usually confuse self-love with selfishness. Self-love is when you are happy and satisfied with yourself and know what you want in life. You have awareness about what makes you happy, sad, stressed, etc. Self-love is loving oneself innately with no judgments.

Selfishness and Narcissistic traits come from a place of fear. A selfish person does certain things because he/she is afraid that there won’t be any money/love/time left for them. They are scared that someone will compete with them and win or take something away.

So they lock everything up for themselves. A selfish person may lack self-love because their life is dependent on other’s opinions and views. Their worthiness depends on the world’s approval, not their own. One cannot pour from an empty cup.

But yeah, most people get confused with both these terms.

People with self-love feel complete, so they bring their best selves to the world. A person with self-love will always illuminate light onto others and love without judgment.”

Having said that, we need to understand that like everything else in human lives; the answer is never “0” or “1”.

We live in a spectrum of self-love, scarcity, fear, and selfishness due to societal norms and culture.

None of us are entirely 100% experts in self-love, nor are we altogether selfish. We fall somewhere in the spectrum and keep going back and forth, depending on how much effort we put on ourselves. But we should always strive to give importance to Self-love because it’s the answer to most of our problems.

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Seethal Jayasankar

Seethal Jayasankar

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I quit my 4-year Oil & Gas related job to Volunteer in gardens & work in the field of Sustainability.