I’m Selfish, Are You?

The other night my daughter and I were having our routine before bedtime chat, where we talk about anything and everything.  That night we were talking about love.   Such a huge topic for such a little girl.  She said something to me which really didn’t sit well with me and got me thinking – and me thinking isn’t a good thing.  I spent the entire night awake contemplating her words.  These mind-numbing, sleep depriving words were:

“I love you more than I love myself.”

Normally, such words should pull on your heart strings and make you melt into a puddle of goo.  But for me it didn’t.  It did the exact opposite and made me wonder why she would feel that way, and think of all the ways in which I may have to reverse that train of thought.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore the fact that my daughter loves me so much.  But it concerns me to think that she is devaluing herself and putting me before herself.  That’s not how is should be.  One must put themselves first, value themselves beyond anything else.  They must be selfish when it comes to their love.  Oh I know what you’re thinking now – I’ve used the selfish word.  But you do, and before you decide to not continue reading this post, hear me out.

This is how I responded to my daughter.  I told her that she should not love me more than she loves herself.  There is nothing wrong with loving yourself more than anyone else in the world.  She looked at me as if I had three heads and five eyes.

So I gave the following analogy:

COPYRIGHT 2007 JEFFREY FRIEDL

COPYRIGHT 2007 JEFFREY FRIEDL

Picture a tall glass on top of a table and a picture of water.  Now pour the water into the glass and watch the water rise to the rim of the glass.  Once it’s reached the rim, keep pouring until the water overflows and spills all over the table and onto the floor.  Now imagine that your heart is the glass, and the water is your love.  Your heart needs to be filled up with your own love in order for you to be happy with yourself, you be satisfied in your own skin.  Only once your heart has been completely filled can you then love other people the way they need to be loved, freely without compromising yourself, without constraints.

But what happens when you try to love others without loving yourself?  You are unhappy.  You are unsatisfied.  You slowly begin to resent the other person, and that relationship then becomes at risk of deteriorating.  You slowly begin to hate your life.  You then think that no one loves you, understands you, likes you.  So, this is why I say it’s good to be selfish with your love as only then you are able to truly love freely.  You are honoring yourself, and you should, because no one else can ever love you the way you know you need to be loved.  And when you love yourself, life is just so friggin beautiful no matter what happens in it.

What did she say to this?  She said “Ok Mommy, time to fill my sleep glass.”