Why being selfish is actually a gift to others

January 22, 2014 Sandra Dawes

Selfish.  I don’t know about you, but it’s a title that I have tried to avoid like the plague for a great deal of my life.  Of course, I know that I have selfish tendencies (don’t we all?), but for the most part I considered myself a giver, a people pleaser.  However, there was a time when my need to be liked, or more honestly, loved, gave me permission to completely disregard my own well-being.  I was so busy worrying about keeping everyone else happy that I had completed neglected to consider what made me happy!

I’ve worked with a lot of women lately who struggle with the awareness of what brings them joy and their concern that they can’t do what they love and fulfill their role as wife, mother, daughter, etc. at the same time.  We often think in terms of sacrifice before we have even tried to look for opportunities that will allow the two to flow in perfect harmony!  I’m sure we’ve all heard the analogy of the emergency routine that is reviewed before every takeoff.  “Should the oxygen masks descend, make sure you secure your own before assisting others in your care.”  While is sounds good in theory, many of us struggle to put this knowledge into practice.

If you don’t take care of your own well-being, how can you be the best wife, mother, daughter, girlfriend, friend to anyone else?  If you aren’t making sure that you’re at 100%, then you won’t be able to give 100%.  If your car battery is low, you can’t give a boost to someone in need can you?  Many of us have become attached to the martyr persona.  We sacrifice, we put others needs ahead of our own, and many of us have completely given up on our goals because we’ve been told that we can’t have it all.  Instead of the idea of the inability to have it all comforting us, it makes us resentful and too often, bitter.

The selfishness I’m talking about here isn’t coming from a place of ego.  It’s not putting your needs first because you are better or more important than anyone else.  It’s not about putting your needs ahead of those of others to their detriment or as an act of spite or passive aggressiveness.  I’m talking about understanding that you cannot give from an empty cup.  You have to replenish yourself on a regular basis if you want to be able to contribute to the lives of others in a positive way.

If you are someone in your life is living an unfulfilled life; in a job they hate, in a relationship without reciprocity, or completely lost about what their purpose is – you know that their energy isn’t great to be around.  You know that when you’re not happy, it makes it harder to be the best you can be in any of your relationships.  Your sensitivity to negative emotions is heightened and you can end up taking your frustrations out on people who have nothing to do with the cause of your mental, emotional and/or spiritual fatigue!

Take care of yourself.  It’s the greatest gift you can give yourself and those around you.  Don’t wait for others to give you permission to treat yourself with compassion and understanding.  We can only give to others what we ourselves possess.  Remember that all emotions are contagious, and that if you want people in your life to be happy, the best way to do that is to be happy!  ♥

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