On Being Selfish
I have noticed in many of my readings that people stress because they push themselves too hard. Most of us have been conditioned to put the needs of other’s above our own. We give 110% on the job. We sacrifice for our families. We support our spouses. I’m all for being giving and compassionate, but we must also be mindful of our own needs.
I truly believe that there is no way that we can be there for someone else unless we take care of ourselves first. Many people mistake being selfish for being hurtful and arrogant. That is more like self-centeredness. When you believe that the world revolves around you, that is harmful and egotistical. Every human being deserves respect and compassion. When you expect another to play only the role that serves you in your personal universe, you are being self-centered.
For me, the idea of being selfish is more like self-preservation. We all know to eat when we are hungry, drink when we are thirsty, sleep when we are tired. But what do we truly know about taking care of ourselves? That is where I feel that many people suffer. It is just as important to take care of our minds and hearts as is it is to take care of our bodies. When you find yourself bending to the will of another because you feel that their needs are more important than your own, you do yourself a great injustice. I feel that it is important to recognize what our hearts tell us.
So, the next time that you are tempted to work extra hours just to impress your boss, stop for a minute. Ask yourself, is the idea that you might get a pat on the back for sacrificing your free time worth losing an opportunity to spend some quality time with your children? Do you want to be selfless or would you rather be full of life and love? We must always balance our responsibilities. However, those responsibilities may suffer if we have no self left to give.
If you are tired and stretched thin, come see me. Maybe I can help you see where you can nurture a little bit more of yourself. I’ll be reading at Cafe Tu Tu Tango’s this Friday, Saturday and Sunday.