For too long, people have confused self-care with selfishness. What this produces is a generation of self-appointed martyrs who wear themselves to the bone trying to care for everyone around them when they cannot even care for themselves. For some, it is rooted in misguided notions propagated by religious beliefs that essentially teach that anything we attempt to do for ourselves is rooted selfishness and is therefore sin. So much shame is breed into children in this manner.
To be balanced, we must embrace the idea that we all have needs and that needs are not wrong or selfish. How we attempt to meet them can be selfish, but not the need itself. They are just needs. We all have the need to be loved, accepted, cared for, nurtured, respected, heard, promoted, celebrated, etc. By engaging in routine self-care and learning appropriate mental fitness skills, we can learn how to get our needs met in a healthy way and prevent emotional starvation.
Remember, you cannot give a drink of water if you are always bone dry yourself.
The best form of emotional, mental or social giving is to give out of your abundance because this means that you will be able to continue in your service indefinitely. For example, it is very difficult to love deeply and passionately when you have never felt loved and are not loved in return. The wound is too great and the pain too deep that it withers the soul. To first love yourself and then allow others to love you means that you will eventually be able to love others in your abundance.
I believe we all have the responsibility to engage in good self-care in order to be productive citizens, good parents and happy, well-balanced individuals.