The word “selfish” has always carried with it a negative connotation. In fact, the dictionary defines it as “concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure”. Other words for selfish include inconsiderate, thoughtless, grudging, uncharitable, self-indulgent and greedy. Most times we find ourselves being described as such when we say no or when we don’t go along with someone else’s plans or don’t agree with them wholeheartedly. Without these situations where we feel ‘put upon’ we also find it difficult and usually hesitate in putting ourselves first in anything.
As women (and especially for those women who are also mothers), it is hard to feel “selfish” and take this time for ourselves. We may feel that time away from others who need us — our partners, our children, our friends — take away from them. Our reluctance to being “selfish” once in a while will result in us not being the best we can be. It’s really the line between being selfish and being self-caring that needs definition.
I find that a good indicator as to whether some self-care is needed, is when we begin to feel resentful. This means that we’ve said yes far more times than we should have; that we are making decisions based on feeling guilt; and that we somehow think that we ‘should’ do x or y. We become resentful when we see others taking the necessary time for themselves, and because we haven’t, we then call them selfish! When will the name-calling stop?
Another indicator is when we keep losing our cool — shouting, screaming, constantly getting annoyed and blowing little things completely out of proportion. We need to stop and ask ourselves then: When was the last time I did something for me? “…if you feel ‘burnout’ setting in, if you feel demoralised and exhausted, it is best, for the sake of everyone, to withdraw and restore yourself. The point is to have a long-term perspective.” — The Dalai Lama
The questions is: why if it would be like a gift that we give to others if we take some time for ourselves, do we so rarely indulge in the process? I think it’s because at some level we don’t think that we deserve it or that we’ve earned it. After all this is what we were put on this earth to do: take care of everyone else. If we stop then who’s going to spin the world? If we stop – would we be able to find ourselves without the activities and the go-go-go attitude? If we stop doing, will we feel worthy just being? Are we only happy when we’re making a contribution or fail to see happiness if we seek to take care of ourselves?
The closest we get to self-care is living vicariously through the one odd person taking time for themselves, and with a tone of playful jealousy we say “Boy I wish I had the time. I wish I had a life like yours. You could AFFORD to take time off. You don’t have children. You’re not married. Your children are grown. Your husband is considerate.” And any other rational reasons we can drum up as to why the person CAN and we simply CAN’T. It’s almost as if you’ve be told that in order to take care of yourself you must have seven massages a week and hours of bathing, reading, and luxuriating. This kind of prescription you’re sure will lead to your loved ones forgetting your name and your life as you know it – falling apart. You simply CANNOT risk that happening!
Taking time for you can mean occasionally going to a movie – solo, doing something that fills you up, going for a walk, sitting and enjoying a cup of tea (without the mobile device – yes – the lap one or the ear one.) Take a few minutes to just breathe deeply and remember all you have to be grateful for in life.
I believe that we all know what we need to do to find enough time to do the things that restore nurture and bring us back into balance with who we are. I think that we’re just afraid to let go because we want to stay in control and feel that by just taking an hour might mean losing valuable ground. Listen to your body and mind; you will know when you have invested enough time in yourself to be fully of love and service to your family, friends, colleagues and clients. Whatever it is, make the time to restore yourself so that you can be at your best, for yourself and for those around you. It is a win-win, so remember to be a little selfish once in a while!
Giselle Hudson is a speaker, author, and Possibilities to Profit Coach™, planting possibility seeds and helping individuals through the process of taking “NEXT STEPS” in their lives. We all have the capacity to achieve so much more in our lives than we give ourselves credit for. There’s the thing you do for a living – and there’s the thing you were born to do. If your dream is to make them one and the same – discover what’s possible for you. Get your FREE “How to e-guide” by subscribing to this blog – top right hand corner – Home Page