Selfishness versus Self-Responsiblity

by midlifecrisisqueen on October 16, 2012

Although it is true, many of us feel stuck as the “sandwich generation,” between responsibilities for both our children and our aging parents, perhaps too many of us use this as an excuse to never take full responsibility for our own lives.

Take a moment now to imagine focusing solely on yourself and your needs at this important life crossroad. Too many women and some men were raised with the understanding that their job in life is to give selflessly to others, with no regard for our own needs.  This can create a tired, bitter, unsatisfied caregiver who has no more to give to anybody.  Do you ever recognize this person in yourself?

Have you played the role of the selfless caregiver too long?  Martyrs are never easy to be around.  Do your kids ever draw back and suggest that you “mind your own business?” Would it be OK to simply take better care of yourself for a change, even though it may feel selfish?

Take a few minutes to focus on what you are feeling about your life.  What do you need more of and how can you get that?  How would getting your needs met help those you care for day in and day out?  How would a happier, healthier you change your family life?

Giving yourself permission is your first step.  It’s healthy to think about your own needs sometimes.  It’s a sign of mental health to step back and take full responsibility for getting all of your needs met today.

by Laura Lee Carter, author of How To Believe In Love Again: Opening to Forgiveness, Trust, and Your Own Inner Wisdom.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Still Blonde after all these YEARS October 16, 2012 at 8:58 am

I always tell my kids…”Sometimes, it is about ME.” (not you). hahaha. They are always surprised by that.

Self Responsibility is not just related to our kids, but we have to be careful to not get too ego-centric.

Kat Meller October 16, 2012 at 9:28 am

Personally I don’t think taking care of yourself is being selfish. Lets’ face it, if something happened to you … then you couldn’t take care of either your parents or your kids – so taking care of yourself should be a requirement to being ABLE to take care of others.

Lori Lavender Luz October 16, 2012 at 10:35 am

I have a sister and a mother who need to read this post. I, on the other hand, am more likely to be on the receiving end of their kindnesses and could stand to step up more often.

Grace Hodgin October 16, 2012 at 12:08 pm

All very good points. I once was selfless in this manner but needed to learn balance. I also have found that people that give their time to others without regarding their own needs often are offended with others don’t drop things and help them. It is very important as you say to step back and meet your own needs.

midlifecrisisqueen October 16, 2012 at 12:16 pm

All great points! I was raised by a selfless and sometimes bitter mom, so I am frightfully aware of when I start giving too much to others. I have to check in regularly with myself to see if I’m feeling used or taken advantage of… LLC

Jennifer Comet Wagner October 16, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Great advice for many reasons, for ourselves and our family.

Haralee October 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Great points. The sandwich it is for many of us. Just when you think kids are grown and looking forward to or being the most fantastic grand parent ever, your own parents need help!

Bonnie October 16, 2012 at 5:21 pm

The first time I heard the term “sandwich generation” – I literally sat down and cried. It summed up everything I was feeling, the constant tug of needy children / needy parents that was overwhelming me at the time. Your points are right on. We need time to recharge in order to really help anyone. And not feel guilty about it!

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