Is it selfish to want to be your best? I was watching an amazing motivational video today from Simon Sinek and he spoke of the dynamic with business, specifically that you have to take care of people, take care of others in order to succeed. So much of what he said resonated with me until he started talking about the self-help industry and how he hated it. That gave me great pause. I will start this by saying that I haven’t read any other comments from him regarding this, so I will not jump to a conclusion but this is a statement I have heard many others agree with—and I am obstinately against it.
Hearing Sinek equate the self-help industry to a bunch of whiney people who were self-serving mad me tense up a little. I feel this is the very belief that eats away at a person’s ability to take care of themselves. The simple answer is that we need a middle ground. No one can survive by giving too much of themselves or focusing too much on themselves.
I also take a very different view of self-help because it is something that helped me profusely. Self-help applied correctly, meaning helping identify the areas you legitimately need work and walking you through that, can be a game changer. When you are able to function from your highest capacity, in tune with your purpose and abilities, THAT is when you do your best work for others. This supports the idea that there is a middle ground, moreso, that the act of caring for self and caring for others are dependent on each other.
To mistake self-help as self-serving is a misinterpretation of what it is at its core. There is a need to be at your best in order to give successfully, without resentment or expectation. Your needs have to be met on some level and the truth is not everyone is going to give you what you deserve. This is where you need to be strong and have enough sense to realize when you are able to help and when you are not. It isn’t selfish to set a boundary when your energy is depleted beyond what you can spare. It isn’t selfish to make sure you’re replenished because you can then give that energy in whatever form to others, really to those who need it.
Don’t let others dissuade you from something that works for you. No matter what it means. When you are able to apply the healing aspect of introspection into helping others, that is when the work has come full circle and that is what we need to look for. I feel that we are in a certain time where that industry is focusing on an area that needs it—we all need to heal. When we heal, when we are whole, when we are connected, that is when we can do our best. That isn’t to say that I don’t understand the point of how easily self-help can become self-serving—it most certainly can. But at its core, it’s about being the best, most fulfilled self you can be and helping others do the same.