I read a wonderful blog this morning on self-care… here is the link And it got me to thinking. Why as a society have we placed such a taboo on the idea of being selfish, or self invested? Why does that idea have such an incredibly negative connotation?
My best friend works incredibly hard, incredibly long hours. She is a single mum of two great kids, who have lots of after school activities and sporting events, which she always attends. She is a good person, who is super nice to everyone. And the poor thing is just exhausted. I told her yesterday that she needs to take care of herself, or there will be no-one left to take care of her children. Sometimes being selfish is not only OK… It’s a necessity.
My hubby is the same. Everyone else’s needs come first. To him, this is noble. This is selfless. This is how he was raised (in the bible belt). To me this is nuts!
Maybe because I have been living with lifelong health issues, I have learned that I need to be a little selfish in order to just survive. Or maybe it’s because everything in my own spiritual journey tells me that taking care of my own needs, and looking after myself, and tending to my goals and aspirations, and putting myself first occasionally is just fine.
I believe much more in a “lead by example” approach. And I know that this has benefits. I get messages everyday from people who are inspired and encouraged by my words, actions and deeds. 100% of the things I do are selfish. I do them because I want to…. and no other reason.
That doesn’t mean that I am not doing for others. I do lots of things for other people. Sometimes donating hours and hours of my time to help another. But I am honest enough to admit, that I do this for purely selfish reasons. I do it because it feels good. I love to know that someone else has benefited from my efforts. I get the warm and fuzzies when someone thanks me for my work. I get such a kick when I see someone smile, knowing that I am the reason behind their joy. Nothing beats that feeling.
But I do for me also. I take care of myself. I meditate. I nap sometimes. I soak in the tub. I treat myself. I feed my passions. I follow my dreams. I nourish my soul. I learn. I strive. I do all this for me…. and me alone. Because if I am not at my best, I am no use to anyone else. It is not nobel to sacrifice. It is not honourable to never be able to say “no”. Putting everyone else’s needs above your own is not benevolent…. it’s irresponsible. You were divinely gifted this life, this body… and the truly altruistic thing to do is to love and nurture and care for it, so that it may be put to it’s highest and best purpose…. not out of some false sense of obligation…. but out of a true sense of purpose, and of love.