On Being Self-ish

Self-ish (adj.) lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.

Self (n.) a person or thing referred to with respect to complete individuality; a person’s nature, character, etc.

Recently, (okay for the past few years), there’s been an uptake in awareness of the importance of self-care. You can read a vast number of articles on how self-care isn’t selfish and how many people can get those two phrases mixed up. My clients and I discuss this frequently, and it’s always encouraging to see how people take care of their physical/emotional selves in their own unique ways.

But I’ve noticed something else. When I aim to better myself, I usually do things like try new hobbies, double down on my daily routine, exercise more, minimize my life, etc. Sometimes, the efforts peter out, and I end up back where I was. Or…I can get so consumed in my efforts, I forget how they might affect those around me. Sometimes I can even do these things so much that I might be labeled selfish because of my focus on my own personal pleasure and lack of consideration for those around me (ahem, the definition of selfishness).

See, this lean into selfishness takes me away from myself and makes me self-ish. I end up falling short of who I’m meant to be. [The “-ish” of a word refers to “having the characteristics of” or “like” something or someone] It means I’m sort of like myself, but not really.

So how do I be fully myself without being selfish or self-ish?

My initial step in all of this is pursuing balance. I’m not a naturally balanced person and I have to work fairly hard to create balance in my life. For me, I’ll likely focus on recalibrating the priorities in my life, which can be difficult if my life is structured a certain way. But there’s never a better time than now to re-evaluate what’s really important in your life to make your self more you. We need to have the right balance of us, others, interests, meaning, etc.

There’s been a helpful analogy I’ve really loved over the years called “the jar of life” that assists in pointing out how we can better prioritize our time. Check out the video below to see the analogy in action!

The moral of the story is, we’re all selfish, self-ish, and learning how to be more like our real selves. We just need to keep prioritizing the right things to stay balanced to be less selfish and self-ish. What ways have you found to become more you?

By: Karen Huckaby, MA, AMFT

This entry was posted in Addiction, Inspiration, Recovery, Self-care, Self-Compassion, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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