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GR8NESS expert Expert Reviewed
A man covers his face in shame realizing his self-care is selfish
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Red Alerts: 4 Signs Your Self-Care is Turning Selfish

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GR8NESS is all about living self-care your way and making sure to tune into you. Because self-care means something different to everyone, there are infinite possibilities and dynamic, rich ways of defining it that can easily blur boundaries. The most significant boundary being: when does self-care turn selfish?

It’s a tough call. Where someone is in their self-care journey may look completely different compared to others. It’s all relative. So, how can we tell? How does one know if their self-care is treading on self-sabotage? Here are some loose guidelines to help you gauge.

1. When You’re Riding Too Many Waves

Self-care isn’t linear. Some people need tiny drops of self care added to their lives, and other people need to usher in oceans of effort to ingrain the habit. Practicing self-care can feel unnatural in the beginning, especially for those who are foreign to the idea. This can lead to a cycle of feeling good, followed by a sense of guilt, and an eventual adaptation to feelings of fluctuation.

If you find that the highs and lows of your self care over time are bringing you down, it might be time to reexamine your method.

2. If Others Start to Hint at Narcissism

Not everyone who throws around the term narcissism understands what it means or is entitled to make that claim, but we can probably all agree that being called one is unpleasant. There’s a huge difference between having narcissistic traits and having a narcissistic personality disorder. This one is about the latter.

If those close to you hint that they feel like you’re putting too much effort into yourself and that it’s taking away from other things, it’s worth at least considering. This is another way to examine if your self-care is getting out of control. As you learn to care more for yourself in healthy ways, noticing these traits will become easier.

3. If Your Self-Care is Only Benefiting You

While self-care changes throughout time and means something specific to everyone, the commonality is that when we do good for ourselves, it usually aligns with what’s best for us overall. A person with healthy relationships and dynamics who is practicing self-care will feel a shift not only in their relationship with themselves but also with those around them.

It can be coworkers, family, friends, or random faces on the subway. Self-care done right is sure to bring an improvement to our interactions with others. If you find yourself continually self-advocating in defense, and there has been little or the opposite of improvement in your relationships, it may be an indication that the nature of the way you’ve learned to care for yourself is selfish.

4. If You’re Sacrificing Priorities for Self-Care

Ah, the horse and carriage dilemma: self-care edition. This one can be tough for those who have learned to lean on self-care as a way of coping with or managing their lives. If self-care is the best way for someone to enable themselves to be mentally and emotionally available for their priorities in the first place, then where does the line get drawn? When does passing up an obligation in the name of self-care becomes an entirely different name?

Well, this one comes down to trial and error, as well as your ability to be honest with yourself. While those you’re subordinate to will more than likely let you know if you’re slipping up, accountability is a one-person show. Accountability must begin and end with you. If you’re sacrificing priorities and having to care extra for yourself later to soften the blow of consequences, what’s the gain?

What to do if This is You

One of the hardest challenges of self-care is to provide yourself with a constant stream of self-acceptance and compassion. Recognizing that you may have some unfavorable behavior to yourself and others can be the first step in being who you want to be instead. You’re only a few adjustments away from being GR8.

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Amanda
GR8NESS Writer
Amanda is a GR8NESS contributing writer who lives in celebration of self care, and endeavors to approach all things with a student mentality. Her love for the study of self-development is rooted in fitness, holistic wellness, and skin care. She is an advocate for mental health; and hopes to connect others to their own way of daring to care.
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