Welcome to The Sensuality Academy podcast, where I share tangible techniques to help you embody your femininity, enhance your sex-life and elevate your relationships.
- Help you understand the importance of self-love
- Help you understand why you are wired to think self-love is selfish
- Teach you why you may have a fear self-love
- Provide you with some examples of self-love you may not have considered
- Remind you of the power of self-love
Links and Resources
Start your journey to explore your own personal pleasure language with my free quiz, including a bonus worksheet with journaling prompts to help you dive even deeper. Take the quiz now: www.eleanorhadley.com/pleasurelanguage
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Today we are going to be talking all about Self-love and whether or not it’s selfish.
I can’t tell you how often I have clients, people just like you, tell me that they are concerned that practising self-love is just a bit too selfish. One of the main concerns that come up with my clients, the way others perceive them. Is that they don’t want to ever be seen as being selfish. This comes up time and time again when we speak about doing inner-self work.
In my last episode I talked about this idea about Productivity Pressure and how we can and we must spend time doing internal work, during this whole Pandemic, rather than feeling the pressure to do and do and do and do and create and achieve and show what I have been doing with my time and it’s come up with a client who shared that she was concerned that others would judge her for doing the self work because it’s selfish.
This comes up time and time again with my clients who feel they have no right to focus on themselves because there are so many other people in their lives – colleagues, kids, lover, rest of the family – who rely on them and wouldn’t it be so selfish to put themselves first.
The answer is NO, of course not. It is such a common misperception though and one that I have to talk through with most of my clients before we can really get down to the deep work. It’s this deep permission that I give my clients, and allow themselves to focus on them.
I know there is so much talk these days about self-love and it can start to feel a bit obsolete, when it is one of those buzzwords – self-love, self-care – but when we really stop and think about it how often do we spend time, really deeply, not surface level, but deeply thinking of ourselves, who we want to be, who we want to become, what is triggering us, what is going through our mind?
Now, this work is so, so deeply nourishing and when we assume that it is selfish. That is almost acting like an excuse for us not to do it. I’m preserving myself, I don’t want to be seen as selfish so I wont stop and take 10 minutes to journal in the morning because someone else needs me. And, there is no right or wrong way to do yourself work, to do your inquiry but it’s about that deep permission.
So, if you feel that it is selfish to invest in yourself, to put your pleasure first. If you think it is selfish to spend time on your own, to request and want and desire that time on your own. I want you to know that you are doing yourself a favour when you allow yourself that space and time. You are doing yourself a disservice when you put everyone else’s needs first before your own. I know that this is a bit tough especially for those of us who are carers. Now, I am not a mum and I don’t know what it’s like to quite literally rely on me to survive. I know that this is a big responsibility. But, this is where we can bring in our tools of communication that I have spoken in my previous episode and ask for help.
So many of us have this martyr complex where we sacrifice our self and our own self preservation, our own self worth, our own happiness and contentment because we want to be seen as this person who is a total martyr and puts themselves last, puts everyone else before themselves. It’s the classic Mum making dinner and she’ll eat that tiny bit of burnt section rather than taking a nice good piece. It’s that classic example of putting everybody before yourself.
The reason why I bring this up is because I see it so much, I see it so much with my clients, in the woman around me and this is everybody, a lot of people do feel this aversion to what is perceived as being selfish. A lot of the time it is women who feel this quite deeply.
So, let’s face it, we are social creatures, we are not meant to focus only on ourselves all the time and that is not what I am suggesting, far from it. I believe very much in deep connection and community and being really close to those in your lives being open, vulnerable and honest. You can do this in a way that still allows you time to yourself.
I want to encourage you to still be a service to each other, to all those people around you but I think we could do with cultivating more acceptance of doing deep inner work.
The idea of self love is quite simple really, it’s about believing that you are important, that you matter, that you are worthy of love, and abundance, and happiness, and health. That’s simple and to suggest that you wouldn’t have any of those things sounds crazy right? Of course you should believe that you are important. No, it’s not about believing that you are higher and more important than anybody else but to be honest you are the centre of your world. You are the centre of your own world. I say this a lot to my clients and I think it’s really important to recognise – yes we are communal beings, yes we have other people in our lives but you are the centre of your entire world and you must put yourself first because when you put yourself first you are able to show up and be of service more deeply to the other people around you in your life. It’s when you forget about you and you put everybody else before you that you can end up feeling burnt out and almost feeling resentful for all the people in your life who aren’t perhaps giving you the same treatment that you are giving them. That’s not on them. I really truly believe that when you have a strong sense of self, when you have allowed yourself, given yourself permission to spend time looking within, doing this deep inner work that when you have this deep sense of love for yourself, or simply acceptance of yourself. Love is something that can take time because we are conditioned so much during our entire lives that it is egotistical to love yourself. Comments like ‘oh gosh! She must love herself’ is seen as a bad thing and I have a problem with that because why shouldn’t you? Why is self deprecating humour so funny? Why do we think that it’s ok for people to say bad things about themselves but suddenly it’s egotistical or strange to hear someone think and express that they are attractive, they are smart, that they think they are good enough. That is what is wrong how we view this in society.
I believe that when you have a strong sense of self belief, a strong sense of self, you are a much higher vibration to do the work that you are here to do. Without these distracting thoughts of self doubt or feeling good enough, you have more time and energy to shine your light into the world and help others along the way.
So, NO, Self-love is not selfish. It is the most selfless thing you can do. If you start with yourself your impact will multiply.
What are some ways that feeling selfish come up? During my work with clients a lot of them express that they feel selfish or too indulgent if they spend money on themselves especially when that money is being spent on Personal Development and internal, intangible things. A lot of us can spend money on ourselves and we might think ‘oh no I am fine with that. I just bought myself a new pair of shoes, I went to buy myself a TV. I can spend money on myself, that’s fine.’ Those things are external. Those things are not to do with your heart, to do with your soul. Yeah, it is kind of easy to spend money sometimes on these external things especially if they are things that we like to put on our mask, our human mask that we wear to prove our worth to others and to ourselves. Things like clothing, cars, things that can often be seen as impressive to others, if we are looking at materialistic standards.
So, a lot of us could feel selfish when we are spending money on ourselves, in terms of working with a coach – and yes I am a coach – and this is something that I hear a lot. I hear a lot of women, and other clients express to me that they don’t know if they can spend this money on myself, it seems a bit too indulgent. Even this comes up with my clients in sessions, they’ve made the investment and are still expressing to me ‘am i just being selfish by spending this time on calls with you and doing my homework and exercises in between, is it too indulgent?’ And I have to ask – by whose standards?
If you don’t put yourself first, who is? Nobody else should be doing it for you as well. To add to that, you can’t expect anyone else to honour you in the way you should expect to honour yourself.
Further to feelings of being selfish, other ways that these can come up – taking time alone. I have lots of clients who express, especially if they are in relationships, even with family and friendships they feel selfish for taking time or just simply desiring some alone time. This goes x1000 for the mums who are so used to putting everyone else first and giving themselves to others that they fear being labeled as selfish for requesting some time for themselves. The fear being labeled as selfish so much more than anything else. It’s about this concern about what others will think. As I have mentioned in my last episode – when we are concerned about what other people will think, it is really a reflection that we feel this way about our own self, our behaviour most of the time.
Other ways that this fear of selfishness can come up, are focusing on our own development. That is that internal work, whether you are investing in working with a coach or taking a Personal Development course or simply investing time in reading a book that is going to connect you with your soul or mindfulness or anything else that connects you more deeply with you.
Sometimes we self sabotage and stop ourselves from doing these things because we think we should be doing something else so that I can show others that I have done x, y and z. Again, this links a lot with the previous episode about Productivity and the pressure we feel to show our work. We often can’t show inner work, we can’t show this tangibly but it is this kind of thing that exudes from you. When someone has spent time questioning themself gently and doing this internal reflection on themself that kind of radiates from them. It magnitises people to you.
For those of you who may feel selfish for wanting to learn how to love yourself more, if you feel selfish for prioritising your pleasure this can also look like saying no to plans because we always think that other people have more right to our time than we do to our own time.
This can look like having a break from dating. Sometimes that can feel selfish as well but really that can feel so nice to have time for you. Honestly, if you are dating right now and I know we are in a pandemic and that is so difficult but maybe we have experienced a sigh of relief that you can actually focus on you and stop reaching and seeking externally for some kind of validation. The invitation here is to look inside and cultivate a relationship with yourself.
I had some calls this week with future clients – chemistry calls, and one of these beautiful women expressed that she really wants to cultivate a relationship with herself. She said this right after she mentioned that she wanted to develop a better relationship with her partner who was in a different state, at the time. She said ‘I want to develop a better relationship with then but actually, no, I want to develop a better relationship with myself first.’ This made the coach in me light up because I love seeing clients self correct and they can recognise they want to change their mind and recognise that it’s more important to start with myself. When we start with ourselves we will show up in a more aligned way when we are with others. Again, that is magnetic.
So, I want to give you permission, not that you need it, I’m going to encourage you to give yourself permission today to prioritise your pleasure, to explore self love, to take some time to do some deep journaling and inner reflection and self inquiry because if not now, when are you going to do this? I hope that you have a plan to do it because it is the most powerful and important work that you can ever do.
I want you to know very deeply that putting yourself first is not selfish. Of course, you can put yourself first and then screw others over and yeah that’s selfish but I know that you are not that type of person. I know that putting yourself first is only going to light you up and have you feeling so much more comfortable and content in yourself
It’s not often that we feel that we can or should put ourselves first because we are, especially as women, those who identify as nurtures, we do have that maternal role where we want to look after others and that is a beautiful trait and I never want to discourage that. I am simply simply suggesting that it is going to be so much more powerful when you allow yourself to fill up your own cup first and allow it to overflow. It’s very easy to put others’ needs before our own and takes a little bit more work to put ourselves first.
I want to assure you that it is NOT selfish to put yourself first, in fact I want to actually reframe that intentional self focus is a practice of self honouring, it is not selfish. In fact it is self honouring to prioritise yourself.
I hope you feel inspired to take some time for yourself and know that you are absolutely in no way shape or form selfish for prioritising your self-love here.
As always, I am here to support you if you would like to dive even further into your journey towards self-love to honour your femininity, sensuality and exploring your sexuality then please get in touch with me. I have a link in the show notes to booking a free complimentary chemistry call with me to explore what coaching would look like. So check that out, I would love to support you on your journey.
Until next time, stay sensual.
Let me know your thoughts!