“Compassionate people ask for what they need. They say no when they need to, and when they say yes, they mean it. They’re compassionate because their boundaries keep them out of resentment.”
My head doctor gave me a selfishness prescription this year. Who am I to argue with a professional? (Please tell me you picked up the sarcasm?) 2016 left me feeling burnt out, worn out, hope waining, very sad about a lot of things and doing my favourite activity, over thinking E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.
I was shocked when the head doctor didn’t give me a big Ol’ cuddle when I told her how crap I felt but rather sat there in silence looking at me for a while and burst out with “Why don’t you just be selfish for once in your god damn life!?”
At first, I didn’t understand, I had grown up being told how depraved and selfish I was and how I must fight with all I have to fend off this “disease”.
Church, charity, good deeds, kindness, putting myself last, understanding, understanding and more understanding of hurtful, abusive behaviour.
And guess what.. I didn’t grow up to be a selfless, well adjusted Mother Teresa Esque’ human being that I had hoped to be…
I grew up to be an insecure, anxious people pleaser with no boundaries and no self-esteem.
“How did I get here?” I would ask myself in the middle of the night, I thought this was the right path?
Needless to say, something needed to change if I were to be a healthy, functioning human.
For the past two years, I’ve been doing serious inventory on what I believe about myself and my role in my relationships and the world as a whole. I am slowly starting to let go of unhelpful and untrue beliefs that limit me and my freedom.
There’s a little voice inside all of us that I’ve called “THE SHOULDS”. The voice constantly tells us what we should be doing and I’ve realised that this voice isn’t kind and isn’t my friend. So this year I’ve given “THE SHOULDS” the flick and I are deciding on the whatever the heck I want.
And I can tell you now; my thought life, my self-esteem, my marriage, sleep, weight and happiness all have benefited positively.
All from being selfish! This is not a reckless selfishness that we would often associate the word with, but a healthy selfishness grounded in personal values.
“Should I do the dishes? No, I’m having a bath with my favourite bath bomb and a glass of wine.”
“Should I over-think why that person at work doesn’t like me? No, I’m going to hang out with someone who does.”
“Should I make time to be with that person who drains and upsets me? No, I’m going to say no and go to the beach with my dogs instead.”
“Should I do all the things that charity has asked me to do? No, I will do one thing well and spend the rest of my time enjoying my husband watching Parks and Recreation.”
Just some examples of my selfish quests! It has been one the most liberating seasons of my life.
I find it helpful to ask myself these 5 questions when I’m faced with a decision or a thought from
1. Does it serve me and my loved ones well?
2. Is it True?
3. Do I feel resentful or “Icky”?
4. Does this line up with my values?
5. Will this produce a good outcome for my life in the long-term?
I can’t imagine what my internal world would be if I didn’t walk through the pain of my old beliefs. How would my marriage have suffered? How would I have suffered mentally, how would I be limited in helping others and contribute the wanted to?
Are you burnt out, tired, lacking hope, lacking energy. sad or disappointed?
Maybe the most selfless thing you can do this year is to be more selfish.
So now I must go because the bathtub is almost overflowing!
See you soon