A Surprising Thing You Can Do for Yourself

Self-centered people are anxious and unhappy.

Research shows one source of self-centeredness is loneliness. A lonely person turns inward. Feeling isolated motivates people to focus on their own self-interest. What’s worse? Lonely people have higher risks of physical and mental health problems.

The title of this post isn’t an encouragement for self-centeredness.

Image of a cat laying on its back sleeping.

The purpose of self-care is restoring your ability to care for others.


When self-care is an excuse for self-centeredness, it’s destructive.

Self-care is more than a day at the spa or a quiet walk.

You take care of yourself when you care for others. When you pour-out for others, even in small ways, you pour a little into yourself as well.

Pouring out is pouring in.

When done appropriately, generosity is good for you. Of course, there’s a limit. You burn-out when you consistently pour into takers. (Read, “Give and Take,” by Adam Grant.)

You need good books, quiet walks, or a Sabbath to rejuvenate. You may also need to learn to receive. (Read, “The Go-Giver,” by Bob Burg and John David Mann.)

The purpose of self-care is restoring your ability to care for others.

A surprising reminder:

Yesterday, while running an errand, I took a wrong turn. I get lost in thought when I drive. I ended up a few miles out of my way. By accident I drove past ‘our’ garage. Don services our vehicles.

On a whim I stopped. Don’s head was in a car when I walked in. As he turned, I reached out and said, “I just wanted to stop and say thank you for the good service you provide.”

We exchanged pleasantries. I hopped back in my truck.

My visit to Hudson’s Garage cost me three minutes. But I noticed something when I drove away.

I felt happy. It reminded me of Martin Seligman’s book, Learned Optimism. Gratitude increases your happiness.

What can you do for yourself?