If you put yourself first, you are selfish.

When you truly love others, you put them first.

If these old stories are still bumping around in your thoughts, I hope you’ll keep reading and try on a new story. Picture me standing in front of you with my hands on your shoulders. Here it comes … I’m going to give you a loving shake.

First, let’s talk about selfishness. If I step into the energy of selfishness, my position and views on the world become about me. How do I feel about things? How can I get what I want? When I’m thinking this way, I view myself as separate from you. I have needs and wants that I’d like to have met. I want you to meet my needs. If I need love, I would like for you to give me love. Whatever is broken about my life, I’d like for you to help me fix it. I expect things of you (and the world). But I don’t consider how you feel about my request. The only acceptable behavior out of you is to act according to my needs. If there’s a cost to others in getting my needs met, I don’t consider it. When I say “consider,” what I mean is that it’s not part of my thought process at all.

Am I capable of giving to others if I’m selfish? Yes, I can still give to others, but if you take a close look at my behavior, you’ll find a string attached. I may not demand something of you in the moment, but since my selfish thinking says, If I do this for you, you owe me, it will show up in the future. It will commonly show up when I want something and I’m afraid that I may not get my way. If I gave it a voice, it would say, I did [fill in the blank] for you. The least you could do is [fill in the blank] for me. I chalk my good deeds up on the scoreboard so I can make sure that I “get mine” back from you.

Self-Sacrifice

Now let’s talk about self-sacrifice. Many of us live with the notion that when we sacrifice ourselves we are giving unselfishly. That we are practicing unselfish love.

But I say that sacrifice is not the honorable act it’s been made out to be.

Self-sacrifice is a confusing energy that tells you that you’ll build yourself up by giving to others, although it it actually tears you down by depleting your energetic resources.

When we sacrifice, we give at a cost to ourselves. We discount our needs and show those around us that they may also discount our needs. The energy of sacrifice gives when it doesn’t want to give, when it doesn’t have the resources to give, or because it thinks it “has to give.” Sacrifice is a playground for the ego. The ego will encourage you to sacrifice in order to deplete you. When you’re in a state of depletion, you don’t have a defense against negativity. You become vulnerable to the festering lower vibrations of stress, resentment, anger, and fear. Be clear about this: Sacrifice is depletion energy. Depletion and unselfish love are at opposite ends of the spectrum.

How can you tell when you’re in the energy of depletion and sacrifice? If someone comes to ask you for help, check your reflex response. Are you irritated? Feeling snippy? Do you feel resentful that they dare ask for even more of you? If you allowed sacrifice to speak, it would take a bitter tone and inform you that whoever you are giving to, be it your boss, a family member, or your spouse, that person is getting their needs met over your own.

Self-Love

Now I’m going to ask you to consider what it’s like to love yourself. When we love ourselves, there’s no cost to another person. Why? Because we don’t need anyone else’s participation. We don’t require another person to do something for us in order to feel our own love. We naturally shy away from sacrifice, ours, or anyone else’s. We don’t rationalize selfish behavior and call it self-love because self-love doesn’t manipulate. Instead, it gives an honest appraisal of how to best care for ourselves, then does so, thereby raising us up to the highest vibration level.

On that level we have so much more to offer others.

Self-love is about honoring yourself. I encourage you to ask yourself that question. Am I honoring myself?

Do you need some mental pictures of what love and honor look like? Picture yourself eating regular, healthy meals and snacks throughout the day in order to sustain your energy. That’s love. Picture yourself drinking water over coffee. That’s love. Picture yourself quieting your mind, rather than allowing it to run amuck and drain you when you are “resting.” That’s love. Picture yourself politely declining projects that will leave you unhappy because they take from you something you don’t wish to give (your time with loved ones, your energy, etc). That’s love. Picture yourself playing and choosing to bring laughter into your life. That’s love. Picture yourself gently speaking your truth when your feelings have been hurt. That’s love. Picture yourself refraining from speaking negatively about yourself. Trade “That was stupid,” for “I am perfectly human.” That’s love. Picture yourself creating a nurturing, comfortable environment to live in. That’s love. Picture yourself seeking the approval of the love within you (divine love) as opposed to the approval of others. That’s love.

These are only a few of the ways to show yourself love. I encourage you to find the thousands of others.

Now imagine what happens when you model self-love. Those around you will be called higher. When you feed yourself well, you will inevitably influence those around you to eat better. If you model for your children that you rest when you’re tired, they will know to rest when they’re tired. If you speak of yourself using only loving words those around you will find that words of a lower vibration don’t seem to apply to you. How different would life be if we had learned as children to define ourselves and not allow others to do it for us? By modeling love for ourselves, we encourage those around us to also love themselves.

When we love ourselves first, we get closer to our divine state. That brings us to unselfish love.

Unselfish Love

As we begin to meet our own needs from a place of love, something shifts internally. That internal shift brings us to our natural state of being love. When we are comfortable loving ourselves, we become comfortable with others loving themselves, too. Things that may have hurt our feelings before, like someone telling us “no,” will no longer hurt our feelings because we will celebrate when we witness others acting with honor toward themselves.

Because unselfish love knows that we are all One, it views us all as the whole. Because I’m rested, well-fed, and connected to my highest self, should someone need my help, I would love to help them. The state of unselfish love can be expressed as follows: I understand that as I help you, my needs are also being met. Without having a conscious thought of this, in universal law, as I give to you I set in motion love to return to me. So as I give to you unselfishly, with no expectation that you will help me in return, it is guaranteed in the future that I will experience these things. My unselfish love for the world is the reward in itself. It fills me with joy to give you the gift of my service.

Unselfish love will fill you with joy and uplift you, sacrifice will tear you down and deplete you. Very different energies indeed!

I hope this post will inspire you to begin treating yourself like the treasure you are. Why not start today?

Author's Bio: 

Kim Vazquez is the author of two books: New From the Inside Out: How to Transform Your Mind and Your Life and Living in the Rear View Mirror: From Substance Abuse to A Life of Substance.

She can be reached at www.kimvazquez.com

Kim works as a Life Coach and Angel Intuitive and is certified by Doreen Virtue PhD. as an ATP®. She specializes in helping others tune into their divine guidance as well as find joy in their lives. She conducts Angel Readings through her practice and and offers both workshops and classes in person and online.