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!