Taking Care Of Yourself Vs Selfishness or Hedonism

by Reid on December 21, 2015

Fun In The PoolHedonism has gotten a bad slant, like people use the word to mean something negative. But looking for pleasure or happiness is not necessarily a bad thing. You need to be selfish in life – you actually need to take care of yourself first.

Hear relationship expert Reid Mihalko from ReidAboutSex.com and Cathy Vartuli from TheIntimacyDojo.com talk about when does taking care of yourself drop into selfishness or hedonism.

Cathy: Someone wrote in and asked, “At what point does taking care of yourself drop into selfishness or hedonism?” And I really love, Reid, that you’re talking often about taking care of yourself in a relationship. So this is Reid Mihalko from ReidAboutSex.com.

Reid: This is Cathy Vartuli from TheIntimacyDojo.com. She will now deliver to us the definition of hedonism.

Cathy: I had to look it up actually. It’s-

Reid: It is also a club in Jamaica.

Cathy: Yes. That came up first actually. The belief that pleasure or happiness is the most important goal in life, and I think that that doesn’t necessarily mean … hedonism has gotten a bad slant, like people use the word to mean something negative.

Reid: Uhm.

Cathy: But I don’t think looking for pleasure or happiness is necessarily a bad thing.

Reid: No. No. So, I think you need to be selfish in life. Now, if that means that your child is choking and you haven’t finished the latest episode of Agents of Shield that you need to finish the episode and then help your child. No, that’s not what I mean by selfish. What I mean by selfish is you actually need to take care of yourself first.

The great example being you need to put your oxygen mask on first in the airplane should we lose a sudden change in cabin pressure, so that you can help the person next to you. That kind of selfishness I think is appropriate and that is the definition of taking care of yourself. Taking care of yourself so that you have the resources to take care of other people. Now there will be emergencies where you need to go … you have to like not take care of yourself for a second to take care of somebody else, but if you’re having to do that at the detriment of your own well-being, the way that plays out is eventually you can’t take care of anybody.

Cathy: You’ll start getting resentful and angry. One of the things I really love … and I learned this from you, Reid. You talk about if you can talk with your partner and identify … this question was from someone who was asking about … with their partner how to handle that.

But if you can identify what your intention is for the relationship, if you know what your intention is, why you’re in the relationship, and what you’d like to create with your partner in that relationship, that can help you define what you want to do and when to say, “Well, this is the time I choose to invest in the relationship, or now I’m going to take care of myself.” Cause there’s a balance sometimes there.

Reid: Uh huh, and again in that situation, if you pull back a little bit and see a larger picture, you taking care of yourself allows you to take care of your relationship, so where things get tricky, like when we have kids and things like that, you’re sleep deprived because their needs are so great, but that’s also where you need to diversify how you get your needs met, so that both of you, both parents, or how ever many parents are involved in the situation, you’re not so depleted that you don’t have the energy to go off and take care of getting your needs met.

So a lot of this is about understanding your own needs, being able to speak up about them and how … do you have community and family and friends around you to help through the tough times.

So that you’re not so overwhelmed and stressed out and depleted that you can’t put your oxygen mask on or the other person’s oxygen mask on.

That kind of selfishness is how you take care of yourself and the people that you love. You have to be end-run about that sometimes, and it doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to do.

Cathy: Yeah, and I think having a bigger intention … just seeking pleasure at the expense of your relationship … or what you want to create in a relationship or in life, that’s not necessarily self-serving either. So looking … if you have a clear intention, I want to create whatever out of this relationship, I want … I really love the stated intention between people. Let’s co-create this, and I choose to co-create this or create this.

That let’s you say, “Okay, I can put aside pleasure in the interest of growing this long-term or supporting this long-term”. So it’s not always … taking care of yourself isn’t always about seeking the pleasure or seeking happi-

Reid: Oh, yeah.

Cathy: A good feeling in the moment. It can also be about what you want to create out of your relationship, what you want to experience in this world.

Reid: Leave your comments, your thoughts. Watch some other videos of ours. Comments are below.

Cathy: Thanks very much.

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