“You cannot pour from an empty cup”
Matthew 22:39. We’ve all heard it. It’s the one where Jesus tells us that the second most important commandment is to love our neighbors as we love ourselves.
The word we overlook far too often in that verse is “as.” Love your neighbor AS you love yourself. To do this, you have to actually love yourself. I realized – and I’m sure I’m not alone in this – that I was expending enormous emotional and physical energy loving others, but not honestly loving myself. That’s not His plan, and it’s not His commandment. His commandment requires loving ourselves.
What if I told you self-care was so much more than a desired list of activities but rather more about true soul-care, filling our cup from the inside out?When you hear the term self-care, what comes to mind?Does it sound selfish, extravagant, new age, or for people who have enough time for luxury?
Do you always find yourself saying “Yes” to things you don’t want to do? You do this because you don’t want to feel guilty or selfish (the bad person). But can you really help them if you are not operating at your highest potential? It is time to start gaining the skills you need to turn down requests for projects you do not want to do. Being selfish (the good kind) can totally help with this.
I like to believe that being selfish is necessary with the virtue that allows you to be good to others because you were first able to be good to yourself. We need to take care of ourselves, love ourselves, and nurture ourselves. Moral upbringing and religion, however, have wired our conscience into believing that being selfish is only bad and you need to put the needs of others before our own. Part of a good egocentrism involves being overly protective of your mental well being. It comes with zero compromise for anything less of a peace of mind.
Developing compassion, esteem, love, care, worth, management and respect for yourself can help you reach this goal. Do not get this confused with cockiness, which has a strong element of arrogance and entitlement associated with it. Most arrogant people don’t have that much self-esteem or love. They hide their insecurities behind their impudence and ability to intimidate others in the bid prove their worth or superiority.
Selfishness in this sense would mean saying yes to yourself before saying yes to others, and aligning your internal energies with your decision, before taking any external action. It’s making sure that you are full, loaded, energized and connected to your inner source of clarity and strength so that you have plenty to give away to others, and not feel depleted or lifeless as you give.
“Help yourself first” before you become of help to anyone. Selfishness means to fill yourself up with loving positive energies, and then become of value to someone.
You cannot give to another what you do not have to begin with. If you truly think about it, how can you be compassionate with other people if you are not compassionate with yourself? How can you give patience when you do not have it within you? How can you truly give love to another person when you are not loving yourself first? You always have to start with the source, which is you.
Love and light