What if it’s not selfish?

by | Jun 28, 2024

Being called selfish triggers me

It triggers many people, especially women.

It’s a projection.

My mother thinks I am selfish because I choose a life of peace and happiness outside her destruction path. In her version of reality, I shouldn’t place my mental, physical and spiritual health ahead of hers. Yet, she is the selfish one for thinking, after dishing out physical and emotional child abuse, that I should place her priorities ahead of my own.

Interestingly, she is not alone in thinking that I am selfish.

Everyone who uttered, ‘But she’s your mother!’ also inferred that I am selfish to have severed communication. I wonder why they expect me to stay in a situation that can make me feel small, uncertain, afraid, emotionally dysregulated and more, when they would urge me to leave an equally abusive husband, partner, or boyfriend.

But I digress.

Am I selfish? What if it’s not selfish to remain emotionally regulated, brimming with self-love, mastery and compassion? What if it’s more selfish to give her my energy than to be able to support my loved ones, friends, community and profession?

What if it’s not selfish at all?

What’s the cost of being “selfless” or, more accurately, people-pleasing?

Even when it is ultimately self-harming, is people-pleasing the selfish act, especially when used to avoid conflict or upset?

Choosing my mother’s needs over my own places me back on a rollercoaster of emotions created by gaslighting and harsh, unjust criticism. It is allowing my self-esteem to plummet as I try to please a woman who cannot be pleased – as I explain in my memoir – because she operates from self-loathing and shame. It is bottling my resentment and anger, which directly impacts my physical health.

Forgoing my boundaries and reconnecting would also dramatically increase stress for my siblings, especially my sister. Being “selfless” would allow my mother to create dramas – where there are none – and negatively impact my sibling’s mental and physical health.

However, I will not permit this to occur and keep my boundaries high.

Does that make me selfish?

What could you miss out on, beloved reader, if I forgo myself?

For one, you’d miss my musings and learnings from life. In the coming weeks, I will share the feelings I experienced as I shifted from an insecure, self-hating people-pleaser to a self-loving powerhouse with firm boundaries and confidence. I will explain why people-pleasing is destructive, resentment-invoking, and the fastest path to burnout.

If I forgo my self-care, kindness and compassion, I will not inspire people to try a different way and to heal anything that makes them feel less than the best version of themselves. I shifted from utter self-loathing to self-love and self-mastery, and I believe that life isn’t about coping, numbing or being distracted; I believe we can all learn to thrive.

And if that takes putting yourself first, so be it.

Because what if it’s more selfish to deprive the world of the real wonderful you?


Help spread the word: