The Thin Line Between Self-Love and Selfishness


How does self love differ from selfishness?

During a meeting with a client, the issue brought up was:

“If I take care of myself, I won’t be loved; I might be rejected for being considered selfish and egocentric“.

The issue of self-love is often perceived as selfishness.

I realized how often people are confused about these two concepts that when analyzed, are totally different.

The quality of your life and your relationships are determined by the ways you give yourself self love.

In this short post, we will explore the difference between self-love that leads to prosperity and selfishness, which is the result of lack of self-love.

Religion, social and family beliefs are the root cause of this confusion.

Is doing what you need to do like taking care of your body’s needs, self-care being at the top of the list, something you should feel guilty for?

Is putting other people’s demands before your demands the right way to end up in paradise?

Clearing Up Confusions:

We often get caught up in this kind of confusion believing that in order to be loved, seen, appreciated and at the center of attention, we need to put others’ demands before ours.

The answer to how self love differs from selfishness is answered in these lines below.

Now, as savvy professionals, we love taking care of others and healing their pains.

Of course, it becomes a habit to take care of others before taking care of ourselves, meeting our bodies’ needs and taking care of the goals we have as business owners.

Let us define what self-love is and selfishness is to give some clarity to those of you who feel that taking care of yourself first is considered an act of selfishness.

What is the Meaning of Loving Yourself?

Love and do what you want” – St. Augustine

Taking this famous quote into account, loving yourself means that you are responsible for your results, so being responsible about how you feel will define the results you produce in the outer world.

Being in charge of your results means being responsible about how well you take care of yourself, including how much you love yourself.

If your tank is empty, you are tired and exhausted and you lack clarity about the mechanics of love and prosperity, then how can you help others?

What will happen if you never take care of yourself?Take it to the extreme and you will see that this is the biggest act of selfishness and fear.

Loving yourself will lead you to a total freedom which you can share with and offer to others.

Loving yourself means that you are not expecting others to fix you when you fall down, as you have the tools to do so or you know how to ask help, so that you become independent to heal what needs to be healed.

Loving yourself means that you know that everything around you is love ( St.Augustine famous quote) and that if you love greatly, you will receive the same in return.

How to Love Yourself again:

MP900433103-e1325029200823As a service savvy professional you are a supplior of love.

If you do not start loving yourself by eating the right foods, breathing in the right way, exercising and taking care of yourself, what is the quality of “love” you will be giving to your clients?

You can learn to love yourself again, just as you can learn any skill!

Only if you love yourself can you connect with source and share love, inspiration and healing to others.

How can you expect to receive if you do not love yourself? In other words, the more you love yourself, the more open you are to receive love and the more open you are to allow money to enter in your energy field.

Everything is about balance. Prosperity is about balance.

You can achieve self esteem, you can achieve self love if you decide to balance your life and business.

You need to take care of yourself, so that you can take care of others too. And taking care of yourself, loving yourself again, means taking care of your body, your relationships, your finances, and you spiritual well-being.

If you are not taking care of yourself with the excuse that doing so might be selfish, what you do is creating imbalanced relationships because you expect others to take care of you.

For some of us, unconsciously you are using the act of giving to attract more love and attention, which you are not giving to yourself.You can choose to change this belief now.

In order to create more balance and be more prosperous,  you can choose to do what St Augustine is suggesting.

By taking responsibility of your own life and feelings, (this is what coaching helps you achieve) you are filled within with love, inspiration, creativity, joy and health in a balanced way.

You are not living in the space of needing others to fill your tank.

Instead, you become a source of love and inspiration where others can come to quench their thirst.


The confusion about finding the thin line between self-love and selfishness. Until you choose to clear up the confusuion this might lead you to the opposite result of what you really want: imbalanced lives, relationships and health problems.

You can learn to love yourself again and you can clearly feel, see and touch how self love differs from selfishness, if you decide to.

If you want to learn how to fill your tank with more love, joy, health and prosperity, I encourage you to join my prosperity weekly tips by clicking hereunder in the box at the end of this post.

For those that live in Lugano I am organizing regular Prosperity Cafès in Lugano and Italy.

The next one is on July 6th 2015 In Lugano, a mini-class on how to learn to love oneself again so that you can attract more of what you love easily.By my list you will recieve all details.

FREE BONUS FOR BLOG READERS:Learn more about how to use this simple NLP toolkit to shift your fears (free bonus video + workbook).




  1. Wisdom ceases to be wisdom when it becomes too proud to weep, too grave to laugh, and too selfish to seek other than itself.

    Khalil Gibran

    One must be careful to understand the message that you have so elegantly explained Patricia.

    I have seen so many instances where people have in an effort to appear selfless, have completely neglected themselves. Being assertive is not a bad thing, it is standing for your beliefs and principles and showing integrity.

    • Thanks Dick and so nice to meet you on my blog.
      We are taught that taking care of ourselves before taking care of others is selfish. Here is a big misunderstanding we need to correct in our lives.
      Thanks for the wisdom quote of Khalil Gibran it is exactly what I am trying to express in simple words in this post.
      Thanks again!

  2. What a wonderful post Patricia, I once had a friend who told me she was envious about how I always took care of me first. This post has brought back this memory of her. This is a Great reminder Love & Do What You Want Great Quote to live by Thanks for sharing Chery 🙂

  3. Great topic Patricia. For me the best analogy for this is the airline policy of telling you that in the case of an emergency to put the oxygen mask on yourself before your kids. If you don’t make it then you can’t be there to help your kids. Pretty much the same holds true for life in general. On the other hand, I have also known people who use putting others first to feed their “martyr” complex.

    • Thanks Marty,
      I know the story of the steward and the plane very famous and good metaphor.
      We tend to forget though it’s a program that runs that says it is easier and better to take care of others before we take care of ourselves.
      Martyrs and people that love complaining are everywhere we need to listen to our inner complaints, the silent voice we can hardly hear sometimes when things are not as perfect as we would like;)

  4. The first way we can start to love ourselves (and others) is to stop judging ourselves.T o love others, we must love ourselves – to love ourselves we must love others. It is a balance. Too much self-love and we get narcissism…too much loving others and we get co-dependency. And there is the game of love and life 🙂

    • Thank you Rachel.
      Narcissism is not about loving one self its an imbalanced state that separates us form the outer world as you say.
      In order to attract more of what we love easily as heart centered professionals, healers and holistic practitioners we need to be awake and listen to our needs so that we can meet other people’s needs. This means taking care of our soul, body , relationships and business in a balanced holistic way.

  5. Wow…Well said Patricia….I have a relative that was going through some things, and he was in a self destructive mode….He was always willing to do anything to help….but would let himself down by being undependable…..I Pointed out that he was the type of person that could look out his window into the backyard, and say to himself “I need to hoe my garden”!….He would go out and hoe the neighbors garden and go back in and see out the same window and wonder why his garden still needed to be hoed……The point is….He was so far out of balance he would try to help others to help himself, and could not help himself to help others! ….Smokey

    • Typically when we hoe other peoples’ gardens before hoping us we are sabotaging ourselves to look inside of us and transform what needs to be transformed.
      Change is not easy, it takes love, guts, determination and a good motivating result driven plan..
      Thanks Gregory!

  6. Hi Patricia. I have enjoyed reading this post. I used to be one of those people that ran myself ragged trying to do everything for other people. I used to cringe to hear Christmas music after Christmas because I was so exhausted from baking, cooking, decorating, taking cookies around, etc. I was usually very sick in January, as well. Finally I’ve accepted the fact that it is no way to live. I think it’s very common for women to put everyone else’s needs above their own. Thanks for reminding us that if we can’t take care of ourselves, we will be of little use to others.

    All the best,

    • Yes Leslie both women and heart centered professionals love taking care of others first.
      This idea means to be sustainable and ecological for our own prosperity before offering it to others.
      The xmas example is very good one;)
      Thank you very much for connecting and commenting!

  7. Patricia,
    Great post. We must take care of ourselves, and love ourselves, before we can hope to assist another. Without self love and self understanding what is left is merely an empty shell attempting to get someone to do something.
    Why do stewardesses always tell us to put the oxygen mask on ourselves before helping a child or companion?


    • Thank you Rick,
      I enjoy reading your posts too and we are on the same page hen it comes to prosperity, health and balance!
      We hear the stewardess always tell us to put the mask on ourselves before helping a child or companion we tend to ” forget” when it comes to taking decisions about our lives and business.

  8. The empty tank, a perfect metaphor for when we sacrifice ourselves, and have nothing left over to take care of ourselves. It’s in the idea that we have nothing left over that the message comes from that all others must come first before we take care of ourselves.

    On a short term basis, this works fine, especially if we are in a place where others are doing that for us; on a continuing basis where we are always looking after others and expecting that to fill our need for care, that’s where we get into trouble.

    Thank you Patricia, for helping us take this good long look at the difference in these ideas. 🙂

    • Thank you Michael for your comment!
      Before feeling empty, exhausted and unhappy or with health problems we just need to see how balanced we are in therms or allowing ourselves to receive the best so that we can offer the best to our friends, clients and loved ones.
      There is always room for improvement when we are willing to listen and observe what is happening in the inside.

  9. Hi Patricia,
    it is so good to read your post which spreads the awareness around this issue.
    You asked some powerful question like “how can we help others when our tank is empty?”
    This is very timely since this came up in the group I am attending.
    Part of our session was about what the ‘Enneagram’ says about us and there is one number that relates to the helpers.
    Wouldn’t it be nice if children learned more about self love in school, since it is the foundation to truly being ‘good’ at anything.

    Thank you so much for sharing this!
    Love and Light

    • Thank you Yorinda,
      I appreciate your comment as always!
      Letting go of the guilt to put ourselves first, interrupts the pattern with so many religious an social beliefs on the fact that we cal allow ourselves to receive putting ourselves in the 1st position with no guilt.

  10. Patricia, Wonderful topic. I think we would be surprised if we knew how many people struggle with a balance of self love in their lives. It has so much to do with how we were raised and what our parents instilled in us. So much is caught in our formative years. I agree with Yorinda, that the truth about loving and accepting ourselves needs to be taught in school.
    We are of little use to others if we have spent ourselves ragged and have nothing to give, or we become ill from neglect.
    We are all unique and it is so important to see ourselves through God’s love.
    Thank you and bless you!

    • Yes Lynn,
      this is about another huge misunderstanding about what self love means vs selfishness and ego centric behavior.
      The metaphor of the empty tanks is easy to remember and it becomes natural for us to create quality relationships when our tank is ” clean” and ” full.
      The idea of Yorinda is wonderful let us hope this is an initiative that some schools will start taking for the future generations.

  11. I really like the way you’ve handled this topic, Patricia. I know in my own “religious” circle a lot of people who equate “self love” or “self esteem” with selfishness. But then “humility” is often equated with a false sense of humility, and they put themselves down and totally downplay their talents and abilities. How does that help anyone??

    I think of it as loving the person God intended and designed me to be… to be the best me I can be. Then my life has value for those around me too.


    • Hi Willena,
      Thank yo very much for your insight and comment.
      We need to be balanced as always, once we know our value without needing to be arrogant or egocentric, once we know we deserve the best we nurture ourselves with the best so that we can serve better ourselves and others.
      There is a misunderstanding about self love and selfishness and the sooner once balances it inside of him or her the better the quality of life for everyone starting from us.

  12. This is awesome, PATRICIA!
    God bless you for this illumination. I’m never going to be the same from today. This is the source of the challenges in my life, I’m a blessed young energetic man but I have limited myself so much due to self love and selfishness imbalance. “What’s the pleasure in making others happy whiles you’re sad. What is the blessing in feeding others to be full whiles you’re hungry”. As the bible says, love your neighbor as yourself. We have to balance it, we need knowledge and wisdom.
    “For my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”

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