Sometimes the line gets blurred when you think about whether there are any differences between being selfish and self-aware.
Do you believe, “If I ask for something I want, I’m being selfish?”
Or does it make sense to you that there’s a huge difference between being selfish, self-centered, and self-aware?
Let’s talk about those differences.
First, let’s take self-centeredness. Here’s an example. A self-centered person might say: ”Oh, I’m so sorry your mom has cancer. That’s horrible. I’m sure you’ll be taking her for treatments, but does that mean that you won’t be able to keep carpooling?“ Or it might sound like this: “Wow, congratulations! I’m so happy you’re going to have a baby. It took me four years and so much money for infertility treatment. I wouldn’t know what it feels like to do it all naturally.”
A self-centered person grabs the focus. And you’re left wondering why you even bothered to talk to them in the first place. Or somehow you absorb a weird kind of shame for sharing as if your struggles or your joys don’t matter.
The difference between being self-centered and being selfish…
Selfishness is putting yourself, your own needs, in front of someone else’s, most or all the time. If there’s pie, a selfish person grabs the last piece. If a child needs to be picked up, they have an appointment they can’t miss, and it’s left up to you.
Sometimes, not being able can’t be helped. But if it happens all the time, then it’s selfishness. And it’s very hard to be in a relationship with someone who knows only how to take but not to give.
How is self-awareness different?
Being self-aware is a very different choice. My definition is simple: You keep in mind your own needs or wants, and treat them with as much consideration as you treat the wants and needs of others. Your needs don’t always rise to the top of the needs/wants/time available chart, but they do sometimes, just like sometimes you put the wants and needs of others ahead of yours. But your needs are in consideration enough of the time.
The important word there is “enough.” Sometimes, that’s not a lot, because someone else’s needs to take priority, and for good reason. Either we all get really, really… really busy. Yet there are other times that you find yourself in a more painful or frightening or confusing place and frankly, your needs – and you — need attention and support.
You could call it good self-care. You ask for help, and hopefully, receive it.
Is this confusion a part of perfectly hidden depression?
If you struggle with perfectly hidden depression, may not know the difference between selfishness and self-awareness. You might not have been taught or treated as if your childhood needs and wants were even significant.