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Where do Self-Love Ends And Selfishness Begin?

Self-love and setting boundaries are common topics of discussion nowadays. It is emphasized that self-love is crucial, and having healthy boundaries prevents burnout and enables us to say no when necessary.

But here is what got me to this topic, but before we get there I want to bring this bible verse here to remind us what love is :

1 Corinthians 13:4–8a (ESV)
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.

Many people have emphasized the importance of self-love and establishing boundaries in life, and I fully concur with this notion. However, it's also important to acknowledge that love involves self-sacrifice. Let's not forget that Jesus himself was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for his children.

If you are a parent and love your children, there is no self-love when you need to get up late at night five times because your child is sick or needs you; you can't say: NO, I am sorry, I really need my sleep right now. There are no boundaries when your child comes for help for whatever reason; you can't say: NO, sorry, I am practicing my boundaries.

So today, I want to explore where self-love ends and selfishness begins.

  • Self-love is about taking care of yourself. It involves a combination of healthy eating, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and engaging in activities that bring you joy. It also requires setting boundaries and declining invitations or tasks that do not align with your desires. That last part where I run into an issue ...

  • Love is: often described as a feeling of deep affection and care for another person. From the Love Languages book, we remember that love can be expressed in many different ways, including through physical touch, words of affirmation, acts of service, gifts, and quality time.

  • Selfishness is about taking advantage of others. Using others for personal gain, even if it causes harm to them, and prioritizing one's own needs and happiness over others, even when it's inappropriate.

How often do we do things that we don't want to do but do out of love? I know I do it often. Cooking dinner often is not what I want to do, but I would do it anyhow to show care for my husband and my child. Some things we do not because we want to do them but because that is how we can show our care and our love to others.

Let's look at a few examples of self-love and healthy boundaries:

  • Saying no to a party when you need rest or need to get ready for an important exam.

  • Take time for yourself in the morning before your child wakes up.

  • Do something nice for yourself when needed, beach day or spa day, even if it is home spa day.

  • Exercising to support a healthy body.

  • Taking a day off to relax and recharge, I know this can be a struggle for moms sometimes.

On the other hand, here are a few examples of selfishness:

  • Not serving your husband or wife a plate when he/she is with your child.

  • Leaving a house to go exercise when your spouse is sick, or your child is sick, or for that matter, someone you love is ill.

  • Not showing up for that best friend party you said you are coming to, but don't feel comfortable because you don't know many people there.

  • Spending money on stupid things and not thinking of your children and your own future.

I think not all boundaries are the same; the most important ones are those that stand and protect our values and beliefs.

Sometimes we sacrifice our self-love to show love to others, and those are the most significant acts of love.
Remember, we do self-love and set boundaries so we can serve others at our best.

The key is to balance putting your needs first and being there for the people you love and care about.


Often we can't see if it is self-love or selfishness. We struggle with both, to have healthy self-love moments and to recognize selfishness. Here are a few tips:

  1. If you are burning out and feel like a hamster in a wheel, you probably need to learn some self-love.

  2. If people turn away from you or you never think of other people's needs, you might need to reconsider how you love others.

There are several things you can do to improve your self-love and overcome selfishness:

• Consider talking to a therapist or life coach.

• Join a support group for individuals who are also working on these areas.

• Reading books and articles about self-love and overcoming selfishness can also provide valuable insights and guidance for applying these concepts to your own life.

There is no mistake that the bible says:

Love your neighbor as yourself.

We need to learn both to love ourselves and to love others.

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