Why Self Care Feels Selfish
This quote came across my inbox a while back and I immediately loved it because it shed so much light on why some people find it hard to be confident, assertive, and practice self-care, even though they know that these are valuable tools and things that they would recommend to those they love.
Of course, those of you who follow my “Life from the Top of the Mind” philosophy know that the explanation for this discrepancy is rooted in how the brain processes information. Our middle brain, or limbic system, is misinterpreting being confident, assertive, and vigilant about self-care as dangerous, and engaging the part of the brain that is designed to deal with danger (the brainstem).
While we can understand intellectually that this is indeed a misinterpretation, the feelings of dread, anxiety, stress, etc. are so powerful that we tend to avoid the very ways of being (confident, assertive and vigilant about self-care, etc.) that we would actually recommend to those we love.
The reason for this avoidance is rooted in our early experiences where being confident, assertive, and taking care of ourselves was often perceived as dangerous because it kept us from getting the approval, attention, and love from whom we so desperately needed it (parents, guardians, etc.). This resulted in our brain defining the world in this way, and, thus, it continues to trigger negative emotions into adulthood, thinking it is keeping us safe from rejection or abandonment.
That’s the problem. The solution is to first realize why this is happening (data is being sent to the wrong part of the brain) and shift to the neocortex (what I call the “Top of the Mind”) so that we can bring the qualities of confidence, assertiveness, and self-care, to life in a way that we would recommend to those we love.
Once we are in this clear, confident, creative part of the brain, we can begin to practice these ways of being and in doing so, we begin to rewire the brain and this new way of being becomes easier and easier.
This is what I do for a living and a life… I have written a book that is a manual for how to bring this process to life called Life from theTop of the Mind, and I go around the world teaching individuals and organizations how to access the clear, confident, creative part of the brian so that they can become more influential in their lives and the lives of others. If this is something that you feel would be valuable for you and/or your organization, I suggest that you contact me, because, until we understand why we are reacting to life in a way that is incongruent with what we would recommend to those we love, we will continue to use an old benchmark of confidence as arrogance, assertiveness as aggression, and self-care as selfish. As a result, we will continue to react to life in a way that is more what we learned growing up versus who we want to be going forward.
~ All the best, Dr. Bill