I used to tell my partner that I should come before anyone else, especially his friends.
I wanted to be number one in his life. Is that selfish?
Webster defines selfish as (of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.
Selfishness is the root of many arguments. Everyone wants to feel like they are the most important. No one wants to feel like they are doing all the work or working alone.
- Adult kids pointing fingers at each other when it comes to taking care of aging parents.
- Kids resenting parents for putting work before them.
- Spouses feeling neglected because of kids.
- Kids feeling neglected compared to partners.
As a military Mom it was especially tough. One of the core values in the Air Force is “service before self”. You’re expected to be selfless.
The problem is that everyone wants all of you. The job, kids, partners. Everyone needs so much of you that you lose your sense of self in catering to others.
Mom guilt and work guilt is real. It can be crushing to give all you have and still be accused of being selfish, but it happens often.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling selfish for wanting to put your needs first. You have to take care of you so that you can continue taking care of others. That’s not selfish, it’s self-care. It’s survival.
A special thanks to Mark A. Schrader for the writing prompt. Check out his story: