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Self care is not selfish part 1 – unhealthy selfish and unhealthy selfless

Making self-care sacred. Realizing that it is not selfish. For decades, I was a major people pleaser. That’s why I was on my way to creating a life fueled by expectations instead of figuring out what I wanted. I call this behavior “tap dancing” because it feels like tap dancing to someone else’s tune to feel liked, loved and accepted.

We’re conditioned to please others as we grow up – parents, teachers, friends, professors, employers, neighbors, people we don’t even know and will most likely never see again – who we think might be judging us.

It took time to change that behavior. I did a lot of Heartwork Journaling to identify my people pleasing triggers. I came to understand which circumstances and situations caused me to respond with my automatic people pleasing tap dance. Examining this in my journal helped me clarify those triggers and where they came from. It’s also where I decided what healthy boundaried behaviors would replace my exhausting tap dancing routine.

It’s work to figure out what balance of selfish and selfless is right for you. Selfish can mean having such rigid boundaries that you are all about you. Selfless can mean no boundaries and too much people pleasing to your detriment. However, both of these also have a healthy variation important to consider. The facing page is my definition of what it means to find your Sacred Self. It’s a dance between being healthy selfish and healthy selfless.

What does it mean to be Unhealthy Selfish?

This includes egocentric and self-centered behavior that doesn’t take other people into account. In the doodle, the unhealthy selfish doodle is standing on her throne.

The focus is me, me, me.

What does it mean to be Unhealthy Selfless?

In the doodle, you see what it looks like to be unhealthy selfless – acting like a doormat, codependent or martyr behavior.

The unhealthy selfless doodle is on her knees to serve. The focus is on the other – you, you, you.


Though they manifest in very different outward behaviors, the inner world for BOTH indicates a “Please love me because I don’t think I’m enough” core belief.

In the next blog post, I’ll share what healthy selfish and healthy selfish looks like.

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