taking care of self for the sake of others…

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There is a lot of talk in our world today about self-care. But very little of it goes beyond the reason for doing so. Most of it revolves around the idea that “self” is more important than the needs of anyone else.

But the reality is that if it is done within the proper context, the concept of taking care of self actually extends outside one’s self. For by taking care of one’s self, the ability to handle conflicts, interpersonal difficulties, and kindness naturally flows from someone who understand human frailties.

It is learning to take care of self for the sake of others.


There is a certain degree of healing that must take place within ourselves before we can understand and personalize our self-care routines. It is hard because in order to heal, old wounds, have to be faced and cured within ourselves. Unrecognized limitations or dysfunctions (so labeled by the world because these limitations are considered “outside the norm”), and discovering the tools necessary to manage life is not an easy process.

But healing and giving up our selfish pride also means that we need to balance self-care for the sake of others against what we want. And we must not shortchange ourselves in this learning to understand self to capture within us that form of selfless self-love. We cannot try to shortcut the process, either.

For by healing and giving up selfishness must come before the desires and needs of others. Otherwise we will continue to try to live a life justifying our ill-behaviors because we put self first incorrectly.

Moving forward…

The greatest disease in the West today is not TB or leprosy; it is being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for…The poverty in the West is a different kind of poverty — it is not only a poverty of loneliness but also of spirituality. There’s a hunger for love, as there is a hunger for God.”

 Mother Teresa, A Simple Path

Some have more painful experiences to go through in order to heal than others do. For those who have narcissistic tendencies, none of those deeply rooted problems can surface without crucifying the concept that self matters more than others at all costs. But it still can be don.

If the will to heal is there.

For myself, the journey to this realization took an unexpected twist. Too often, the Christian teachings never took into account God’s word: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself. It gets bypassed as if loving self is a wicked and prideful thing.

And it is – if it focuses on what one wants instead of what one needs. They aren’t the same thing.

In our world today, there is a tremendous need for love and being loved. Unless we love ourselves as God loves us, we will remain selfish. And our desires to acquire power, control, wealth, and the like for our personal gain will never ultimately satisfy the inner cry for satisfaction.

And it will never fill our hearts with love for anyone outside ourselves. Ever.

Personal realization…

I had to go through darkness to reach the light of understanding of who I am before God. Self-care and self-love through His eyes (not my own) isn’t selfish. It must be done in order to bring selflessness to the human race.

When one of us remains in the state of prideful defiance to our main purpose – that of service to others – the human race becomes tainted with hatred. And human dignity is lost.


For as the heavens are high above the earth,
    so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him…
13 As a father pities his children,
    so the Lord pities those who fear him.
14 For he knows our frame;
    he remembers that we are dust.”

Psalms 103:11,13-14, RSVCE

Accepting ourselves in our flawed humanness and weaknesses allows us to begin the journey toward healing. When that path of acceptance is begun, there is no turning back. And set in the light of how God, our creator, views us in all our weaknesses and vulnerabilities makes the journey easier to undertake.

Self-love in its proper sense begins to filter through our darkest moments, and the light of true Love fills in the gaps. Once that healing begins, the purpose of our existence will begin to take shape inside as well.

No longer trapped inside the limiting goals of human endeavors, we will begin to take on the role of servant properly for others. By understanding and caring for our own weaknesses, we will be able to bring more true compassion for others. We can then become the servants we were all meant to be.

Journey to understanding…

In my own life, learning to accept my own weaknesses and limitations was a problem. Separating selfish love from love of self was hard. That wasn’t what I was taught, and certainly wasn’t considered acceptable to do years ago.

But now that the journey has begun, I am no longer taking on tasks that are not suited to who I am. The learning process allows me to heal from the wounds caused by misunderstandings or well-meaning but misdirected guidance.

And from that learning, God was able to begin a healing in myself that extends to those beyond me.

The purpose of “serving others” takes on a different view. No longer forcing myself to give in to others just because I am told to do so, I can now understand the difference. It is a distinction between giving what is proper both to the other person and to me, instead of what everyone else thinks is correct.

The world’s view that we must all conform to a singular behavior isn’t correct. Each one of us, instead, should accept ourselves and what our limitations are instead of giving in to the general consensus. In this way, we can learn to serve others more efficiently. And more genuinely.

We each have to give a little bit differently. But we cannot give if we have nothing to give. And that is where self-care and self-understanding comes into play.


The first step toward healing begins with forgiveness. Learning to forgive ourselves correctly for wrongs we have done that begins the process.

Many people believe that God forgives them. And others can forgive them. But they tend not to believe that they can forgive themselves. When that happens, there is a belief that their opinion about forgiving themselves that supersedes that of their Creator. They become judge and jury instead of God Who created them.

And they judge the forgiveness of others as well.

It is learning to forgive ourselves correctly, not just thinking that God alone forgives our failings, is the start of the journey to ameliorate ourselves. Once we are able to begin to embrace those defects and use them to perfect the world around us, we can reach our to others and help them as well.

In that, we become the light that God can shine through. And through our weaknesses, He shows Hus strength. The weaker we are and the more we give of ourselves to Him, the more brightly He will shine through us.

For nothing could possibly show our human abilities in accomplishing anything, when we begin to discover our own limitations. Yet, through us, in spite of what we are not capable of doing, He can work wonders to those around us.

Wow! What a reason to love ourselves just as we are, warts and all!


When that realization is instilled within us, it no longer matters what the world thinks. Or demands of us. For we can truly begin to love not only who each one of is is as God sees us, but extend that understanding and love to others around us.

Self-care, then, isn’t to make one feel good about ones’ self. It is so that you can feel better in order to serve a God Who loves each ones of us, and those around us.

That is the biggest difference between selfish self-care, and taking care of self is the reason for embracing it. It isn’t selfish when it is done for the higher good.

And that reason is to restore human dignity to its rightful place. And give what is so lacking in our western culture today.

True, honest, pure love.

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