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Can we be selfish and selfless at the same time? – Sunday thought

Photo by lilartsy on

There are times when it is important to prioritize preserving your own well being and there are other times when going out of your way for others is the right thing to do. I find that so many of us can be so quick to judge at times when we label people “selfish” in a quick moment.

I think that there are levels of selfishness and selflessness. Healthy selfishness can include self care and prioritizing putting our own oxygen masks on. Healthy selflessness can include having a generous and giving way of being while having personal boundaries and limits. If we expand our levels of empathy, generosity and kindness of spirit while still keeping our own personal limits in mind, perhaps we can find that balance on the scale.

Photo by Jess Loiterton on

What are your thoughts on the balance between being selfish and selfless? Can we be both?


13 thoughts on “Can we be selfish and selfless at the same time? – Sunday thought

  1. In order to have strength to properly care for my parents I need to create some space and time for myself to recharge my batteries. This seems selfish, creating time for me, but I know it will help them in the long run. You cannot properly care for your loved ones without also caring for yourself.. an exhausted carer is no good to anyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is so true especially when caring for loved ones. I think it is easier to burn out when you need to spend so much time caring for a loved one. Glad you’re taking time to recharge, it is so important.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What a great post and fascinating question. I think we totally can be both because a calm and well-regulated central nervous system (achieved through meditation, yoga or any other way) benefits all the people around. Our nervous systems communicate with others in ways that our brain can barely perceive (and I’m referencing the work of therapist and author Deb Dana) so I’d say “selfishly” grounding ourselves is an act in and of itself of selflessness!

    Thanks for a great post!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is an excellent point – starting out with a calm and well-regulated mindset helps with nonverbal communication at the outset. I am not a seasoned pro at that – it can be difficult in so many situations but thank you for the reminder to think of grounding yourself as a starting point.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. There is a balance. One must put on her oxygen mask forts and then help others. Boundaries are also impotent for all involved. It helps to state the boundary. I had to do this over the weekend. It is a hard and scary thing to do, but that short conversation actually improved the situation almost immediately.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny how the idea of having a tough conversation can be scary but the actual conversation is usually only a few minutes long and can be so worth it. Glad you were able to set a boundary and speak up . It is definitely a balancing act.

      Liked by 1 person

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