Is loving yourself first selfish?

As a coach and a self-love workshop developer, one of the most common questions that I hear is this: How do I love myself without being selfish?

There exists a misconception, especially for us women (yep, I'm calling the ladies out!), that to love ourselves first means that we are limiting our ability to love, serve and help others. We confuse the terms self-love and selfish. As a recovering perfectionist, former non-profit professional, and classic oldest child, I get it. For many, many years, I believed that -- if we ranked priorities -- it was the "right" thing to put myself last. Selflessness (in its extreme) was the name of the game. And I absorbed the false belief that loving myself first would limit my ability to be unselfish and caring. Self-love and selflessness were mutually exclusive.

But, when it came down to it, I couldn't have been further from the truth. 

I'm going to propose something radicalSelf-love is inextricably linked to our ability to live out our purpose in the world. Yes. To love yourself first, to care for yourself, to nourish your body, mind, and spirit... it cannot be separated from your life's purpose. In fact, it's a requirement for the fullest embodiment of that purpose.

Self-love is not selfish. rather, it's the ultimate unleashing of our love out into the world.

Think about it like the oxygen masks on an airplane. In the event of an emergency, flight attendants remind us to secure our own masks before helping those that might need assistance. Without your own mask, you may pass out before you're able to help those that need your support. Without your own self-love oxygen mask, you may pass out from lack of love (its own kind of oxygen, am I right?) before you're able to share that love with others. 

Self-love is f*cking revolutionary, babe. It's juicy and glowing and soaked in gratitude. Better yet, it's magically infectious. To put on your own self-love oxygen mask grants others the permission - and models how - to put on their own. 

Self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.
— Parker Palmer