Selfish. It’s such a loaded word. And it’s not one you want to be called.
But what I have realised, is that when someone calls you selfish, what they’re actually saying is that you won’t do their selfish bidding.
You’re “selfish” because they can’t get you to do what they want. You’re “selfish” because you have healthy boundaries and are looking after yourself. You’re “selfish” because you know that saying yes to others shouldn’t be a no to yourself.
This isn’t being selfish. This is self-care. And I sincerely believe that it’s people who aren’t looking after themselves, they’re the ones being selfish.
You see, when you put the burden of responsibility for your wellbeing into someone else’s hands, your “selflessness” actually creates an unhealthy, co-dependent dynamic. You’re essentially asking the other person to look after you. And, as with all expectations, this train invariably leads to disappointment, but not before passing through the stations of resentment and worthlessness.
When I first decided to get serious about making myself happy, one of the things I quickly learnt, is that it’s none of my business what anyone else thinks of me. Given that I’m a recovering people-pleaser, this is a very good thing.
The only thing I had to remember, is that my energy is a finite resource, and I have to make a conscious choice, of where to expend said energy. And so, I started asking myself certain questions, questions that I would return to day after day for a few months, to find where I wanted my life to go.
What do I want?
Where do I want to go in life?
What makes me happy?
Who makes me happy?
What am I passionate about?
Sometimes, when we ask ourselves questions like this, we get caught up in what we should answer. For example, surely my kids should be in the list of people who make me happy. But the list is for you, and you alone, and when you drill-down to what’s really important, what makes you tick, you’ll know the path you want to be on.
You wouldn’t get in your car with no idea of what the destination was, so why do we think it’s acceptable for our lives?
You don’t need to reach that goal tomorrow, or even in the next 10, 20, 50 years, but you do need to know the direction you’re going in. When you know this, you’ll instinctively know how to create your life around you.
Our lives are finite. We have just the one (that we remember), so make the tough decisions.
Look after yourself.