Today I want to talk about selfishness. Have you ever been called selfish? I definitely have.
As a young child, my nuclear family referred to me as, "Greta Gets Her Way". It came from relentlessly pushing for what I wanted until I got it. Of course, this attitude got worse in my teenage years. You could for sure say I acted like a selfish brat.
Thankfully, I had a huge wake up call. Between my 16th & 17th birthday, I started a yoga practice. It made me increasingly aware of my thoughts, word and actions. I grew more compassionate and considerate of others. Something shifted in a big way.
Entering adulthood, things got a little more complicated. I learned how important it is to know and ask for what you want. People pleasing isn't sustainable. There's a balancing act to giving and taking. To be healthy and happy, you must take care of yourself.
We know from airplane safety demonstrations that if you don't put your oxygen mask on first, you can't save anyone else...
There's an increasing number of social media influencers, bloggers and celebrities who strongly encourage a self-care practice. I personally know a lot of people (mostly women) who confuse this with selfishness. They've expressed feeling wrong for spending time and money on things like working out, pedicures, creative pursuits, starting a business, girls trips, even taking a bubble bath or afternoon nap. Because I am a HUGE advocate of self-care in all its glorious forms, I want to explain 2 different kinds of selfishness.
I see it like this: There's selfish (little "s") and Selfish (capital "S").
Little "s" selfish is not a good look on anyone. It comes in the form of greed, narrow-mindedness and narcissism. Think back to that snotty, pouting teenager who can't see beyond herself. Yucky things like belittling others to make yourself feel better, rudeness and incessant complaining fall into this form of (little "s") selfishness.
Selfish with a capital "S" is extremely important and necessary. This kind of Selfishness means you keep your side of the street clean through self-examination and personal development. It's prioritizing your health and fitness so you can provide for others. You give from a space of joy, not obligation or guilt. When it's time to rest, you rest. No means no. Yes means yes. Though you may disappoint others in the short term, you'll be a better version of yourself in the end. Selfishness (capital "S") could be classified as self-care and is never something to feel bad about.
Give yourself permission to be big "S" Selfish from here on out. Release all guilt and shame associated with self-care. Intuitively, you know how to put yourself first without hurting anyone in the process. There's a voice deep inside of you that's begging for your attention. Start listening to YOUR wants and needs so you don't fall into the trap of resentment and exhaustion. You owe yourself the same amount of love and care you offer others.
PUT IT INTO ACTION: Meditate on selfishness, Selfishness and self-care in your life. Schedule a minimum of 1 hour this week dedicated to YOU. Value that time like an important doctor's appointment. Sign up for a yoga class, get out your craft kit, enjoy a chick flick...whatever feels the most pleasurable. Notice any guilt that comes up during that time and let it go. Affirm that you're caring for yourself so you can better care for others. Increase this practice to 20 minutes to 1 hour each day.
I'm here to support you on your Selfish/Self-Care Journey. Let me know if you'd like to chat about this in more detail. All replies go straight to my private inbox, and I always reply.
Make today about being good to YOU!
This morning I had plans to meet a dear friend for coffee. We’re usually quite casual and flexible with each other, especially when it comes to timing. We almost expect our meetings to start and end a little later than the original arrangement.
Today was no different; I was running behind schedule. I found myself anxious and scrambling to get to the cafe on time. Around 10 minutes before I left my apartment, I texted to let her know I’d be leaving soon. And she quickly replied, “No rush!”
But I still felt rushed. I noticed my anxiety getting worse as the minutes passed by. My breath shortened and my pulse quickened. I wasn’t fully present to what I was doing because I was worrying about the future. It was an uncomfortable feeling that was completely self-induced.
Then I did do something different. I paused and realized I was creating unnecessary pain through my fabricated sense of urgency. My friend wasn’t in a hurry. Her text granted me permission to take the time I needed to get to her safely. So why was I stressing myself out over nothing? Simply noticing my reaction helped to significantly reduce my nervousness, if not eliminate it.
It’s so easy to project toxic thoughts and emotions into the stories of your day, often without it. Here are some examples that come to mind:
If the guy you’re dating doesn’t reply to your text message after 15 minutes, you start telling yourself he lost interest and probably started seeing someone else. You feel sad until 15 minutes after that he gets back to you like nothing changed.
You freak out on Wednesday night because no one signed up for your Thursday morning Pilates class. Your evening is spent feeling like a failure, and you believe they must not like your teaching style. But you show up to the studio the next day to find 3 people registered and 3 more dropped in at the last minute.
A colleague seems quieter than usual. She cancels your happy hour plans at the last minute. In your mind, she must be mad at you for something. You spend the day bummed out, trying to figure out why. Later that night, she informs you that her cat is sick and she needed to be home with her.
Think about all the time and energy you’ve wasted worrying about things that don’t exist. How much of your day are you spending in the past or future, participating in a narrative that only hurts you?
So much pain can be avoided by being accepting and present. Sure, you’re human and it’s natural for your mind to wander into fantasy land. But I encourage you to pause and notice your anxieties. Can you pinpoint where they’re coming from? Is it something real that you should take action on, or is your imagination running wild?
Even if the worst case scenario is true, your anguish isn’t serving you. You’re better off letting it go and letting it be. It’s probably not personal. Trust that what is happening is right...because it IS.
If you’re anything like me, you run a little bit anxious. Anxiety can be debilitating at times because it feels like there’s nothing you can do to stop it. But perhaps you do have the power to put it to a halt. Wouldn’t you say it’s worth a try?
I hope you’ll join me in this approach to living a joyful and anxiety-free life. Together, let’s encourage each other to step back and get curious about our feelings and the stories behind them. By letting go of judgement and observing from a space of inquiry, it’s easier to connect the dots around your anxieties. Sometimes one connection is all it takes to shift the storyline and start a new chapter; one where you’re empowered and life is working in your favor.
Take action today! Slow down. Listen to what you’re saying to yourself and others. Connect with your breath. Release what doesn’t serve you. Choose to see the positive. And welcome yourself back to the present moment where life is really happening.
I always used to tell people I have 2 Grandmas. My grandma Ertl was the warm, fluffy grandma who baked amazingly delicious chocolate chip cookies and told bedtime stories. Gosh, I loved that woman so much!
Then there was Grams. Grandma Foster (Mom or Marilyn, as many of you know her) was the spicy, sassy (and classy) grandma who taught me the importance of wearing fashionable jewelry and having your nails done. She always had the cutest (age appropriate) outfits. And she made sure she had a new one for every special occasion. Grams loved to drink vodka gimlets and smoke cigarettes...until she couldn't. Then she made do with red wine and one liners. She was the life of the party because she loved life so much.
Marilyn valued her family and friends, above all else. She always made time for the people she loved. When you talked to her, you knew she was listening because she remembered what you told her and always followed up to make sure whatever you were up to was going well. Grandma was loyal, honest and authentic which made her personality charming and magnetic to anyone who had the privilege of knowing her.
Grandma was always there for us. She showed up to every birthday, reunion, graduation, game and performance she could. Grams wanted to be part of the action and included in all the excitement. And when she couldn’t be there physically, grandma showed her support and told us how proud she was with phone calls and cards. She loved all of us the same amount, but she knew how to tailor her love and express it differently to each of us.
Grams always said what was on her mind. She didn’t hold back. You never had to guess what she was thinking. I loved her independence and wit. Marilyn was unapologetically herself. She approached life playfully with an admirable sense of humor and compassion.
Grandma stayed strong for all of us until the day she died. I think the hardest part for her was leaving all the people that loved her. But the funny thing is, she didn’t actually leave anyone. Marilyn, Mom, Mother in-law, Grandma, Great Grandma lives on in her family legacy...
In my mom, Monica, I see her leadership and love for tradition.
In Susan, I see her incredible strength and empathy.
In Mary, I see her warmth, fun and acceptance.
In Julie, I see her ‘take charge attitude’ and sense of direction.
In Rick, I see her protector and favorite son.
Her grandchildren and great grandchildren carry her spark, determination and zest for life.
During her last hours, we expressed, over and over how thankful we were for everything she did and everything she was. We said our “I love yous” 100 times over. And grandma kept saying, “I know, I know.” She didn’t have a doubt in her mind how deeply cared for and loved she was. Now THAT is a beautiful thing.
I hope we can all feel just as confident that Grandma is in a much better place. I hope you find peace in your heart knowing she’s here in spirit and will continue to make herself known in each of us.
Even when she was sick, Grams loved life. She loved it so much, she didn’t want to let it go. And you know what? You can’t teach people how to love life. You have to dig deep and feel it. You have to open your eyes and see it. You have to open your ears and hear it. So, I challenge all of you to find that same love for life. That’s what grandma would want for all of us.
When I get quiet, and ask myself, “What was grandma’s message?” This is what I hear…
Look for the good in every situation. Express yourself freely. Ask for what you want. Stay strong in adversity. Be there for your family, no matter what. And don’t forget to make regular hair appointments.
I love these new, salted vanilla lattes from Caribou. The combination of frothy milk, sweet vanilla and energizing coffee makes my mouth water. They’re divine. And every time I drink one? I feel amaaaaaazing. They make me SO happy!
That’s because they're loaded with sugar and caffeine. Obviously.
As delectable as my latte lover is, I know it’s not really that good for me.It’s got very little nutritional value. And I usually crash and burn once the initial high wears off.
Plus, if I drink one too late in the day? I know it’s going to make it harder to fall asleep. Not good.
It’s okay to indulge every once in awhile. Moderation is key, right? But they’re definitely not something I want to drink every day.
Now I’m also obsessed with kale salads. I love to toss olive oil massaged kale with goji berries, roasted pumpkin seeds and rotisserie chicken. I top it all off with a homemade tahini dressing inspired by my friend Jaina.
This salad is the freaking b-o-m-b. Seriously. Every bite is a little different. But each one is delicious.
Kale salads leave you feeling energized, light and I’ll say it… downright sexy.
That’s because it’s made up of amazing, nutritious ingredients. The salad genuinely leaves me better than it found me.
If I could eat this salad every day? I would (and I probably should)!
Relationships are a lot like food.
You get to choose what you put in your mouth. And you get to choose who you spend your time with.
Some people are kind of like sugary coffee drinks. They’re fun and exciting… once in awhile. You can handle them in small doses. But beyond that? They become toxic. Mostly because they leave you feeling exhausted and worn down.
It’s not that they’re inherently bad people. They’re just not good… for you. Usually it’s because your values simply aren't aligned. You’re focused on different life goals. It's not a vibrational match.
Then there are people in your life who resemble a kale salad. They’re positive and energizing from beginning to end. They light up your world. And when you part ways? You feel inspired, uplifted and content.
Only you know how someone actually affects you---energetically, emotionally and spiritually. It’s subjective. And it’s easy to miss if you don’t pay attention.
This analogy extends beyond relationships. You can apply it to your career, business offerings, social media, reading materials and, well, food.
One of my fav yoga teachers says, “How you spend your time is how you spend your life.”
Where are you spending your time? Where are you spending your life?
I encourage you to slow down. Pause before saying “yes” or “no” to opportunities as they arise. Make decisions with the awareness of how you’ll feel before, during and after an interaction.
If you’ve been living on sugary lattes for too many days in a row, know that you might be missing out on a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables.
And if you’re sick of kale salads? Maybe it’s time to indulge in a latte.
It’s all a balancing act. Mindfulness is key.
Are you involved in a relationship, job or business partnership that resembles a sugary latte? Is it energizing at first, but leaves you high and dry?
Are you spending too much time on social media, comparing yourself to others?
Do you feel guilty for binge watching too many episodes of House of Cards?
Make a list.
Write down 5 things (people or activities) that are fun at first but leave you feeling crappy.
Next to that list, jot down 5 things that almost always leave you feeling confident and satisfied.
Notice if you’re spending more time on one list than the other. Don’t judge or criticize. This is about building awareness.
Take a look at your calendar. Can you input more “kale salad activities” and take out “sugary latte engagements”?
I’ll say it again:
"How you spend your time is how you spend your life."
Make every minute count.