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The Difference Between Sacred Selfishness & Narcissism

By Roy Biancalana, Certified Life Coach

Being selfish is essential if you desire to have a fulfilling and healthy love life. I know that sounds crazy, so let me explain.

I’m not championing self-absorption and the total disregard for others. That’s what I call narcissistic selfishness. I’m talking about Sacred Selfishness. I am saying that you cannot have relationship bliss if you are not following your bliss. And your bliss is found in heeding your inner voice, being faithful to your creative path and engaging in activities that make you feel vibrant and alive.

When flying, we’re told that in the event of an emergency, we’re to put on our oxygen mask before we help anyone else with theirs. That’s what I mean by Sacred Selfishness. As important as our partners, parents, friends and kids are, our aliveness must take precedence. You are the priority, for you are no good to anybody if you are “dead.” You must not lose your self.

(By the way, for those of you who are familiar with the Bible, when it says to “deny yourself,” that’s referring to your ego not your aliveness.) Your aliveness is sacred, and you must protect it like a mother bear protects her cubs. If you put your partner or the stability of your relationship ahead of your aliveness, you will probably end up depressed, addicted or involved in an extramarital affair.

Many people believe that sacrifice and compromise are key fundamentals in healthy relationships. It’s actually just the opposite. The purpose of a relationship is the growth and expansion of the individuals in it. A truly healthy and blissful relationship is one in which neither partner is giving up anything of importance in exchange for being in the relationship. Sacrifice and compromise are red flags. In most cases, if two people are willing to work at it, both partners can have what they want, for there are many creative solutions that can be found.

The best gift you can give your partner, your kids, your friends and your career is a Self that is in love with life. And that usually means being sacredly selfish about three areas of life…

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The first area is your inner voice.
One thing I’ve always loved about Jesus was how he modeled this. Most of us see Jesus as a very unselfish being, and in the narcissistic sense, he was. But if you tried to distract him from following his inner voice, look out. On one occasion, Peter tried to do that and Jesus called him Satan! Before you listen to, or get distracted by, any other voices in your life, i.e., your kids, partner, parents, boss, etc., hear yours and give it priority.

The second area is your creative path.
Each of us has come into the world to make a contribution. We are here to express ourselves and offer our gifts. That is what I mean by your creative path. That may be anything from raising children to starting a business to being President of the United States. Your aliveness is intimately connected to how fully you live your creative path and you cannot allow anything or anyone to stand in your way.

The last area is your activities.
Engaging in activities that make you feel vibrant and alive is the last component of Sacred Selfishness. Simply put, you have the right to do things that make you feel happy and joyful. Your role in life is not to help everyone else enjoy life, but to model joyous living for them. I’m going to say something controversial here. The idea of spending quantity time with your children is bunk if it means you must cut out activities that rejuvenate and enliven you. Your kids are better off having one hour with a happy parent, than four hours with a depressed one. Quality really is more important than quantity.

Roy Biancalana has provided numerous AccessRx blog entries in which he shares how to live a healthy, spiritual and fulfilling life. He is an author, life coach and former PGA Tour player. Roy is available for consultations.


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