Me time

Find the distinction between positive self-care and selfishness

Selfishness is something that’s easy to have a natural tendency towards. Life often feels like a dog-eat-dog situation and it can seem less complicated to look out for number one. Indeed, there are times when you’re actively encouraged to care for yourself above others.

There is a fine line between self-care and selfishness, though, and you’ll know the person who treads heavily in that region of self-absorption and is plain selfish. They start every conversation with ‘I’, always take the last biscuit but never buy a new pack, often seem to be embroiled in drama more so than anyone else, with their needs seemingly more important than yours. But what if you’re the one being selfish?

Ways to get the balance right


Understand that not everything revolves around you. Your priority is not necessarily the same as another person’s – they have their own urgent tasks and challenges to deal with. Reminding yourself of this when you need something from someone else can really help ease frustrations.


Be aware of your surroundings and the words you use towards others. Remember the word ‘respect’ and pause a little more to think before you speak.


Be a giver not just a receiver. This doesn’t need to be of physical things, it can be time spent listening. Becoming a good listener as well as a good talker will help to make you a better friend.


Have empathy for others by taking a moment to think before judging or weighing in with advice. Put yourself in another’s shoes and ask questions to better understand your friend or loved one’s dilemma.


Don’t live for validation from others. It can be easy to yearn for validation and acceptance and this can be a slippery slope to self-absorption. Instead have faith in yourself and your own abilities – and give compliments to others where they are due. You’ll find they come back on their own.

Words: Chloe Menage

This article was originally published under the title ‘Two sides to every coin’ in Issue 17 – Going with the slow

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