Lose the Guilt: Redefine Selfish

Posted by on October 4, 2012 | 12 comments

Lose the Guilt: Redefine Selfish

Survival is our number one necessity, which can no way be interpreted as selfish. So, how can it be that so many people consider it selfish to attend to their own needs, (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, creative, sexual, and social)?

True selfishness hurts others. While you may feel like you are neglecting the needs of others in order to attend to your own needs, but you are not. Adults should understand and children will not be hurt or scarred by making them wait. As a matter of fact, you are teaching delayed gratification, a skill sorely lacking in today’s society and one that contributes to a lot of pain and suffering.

You’ve undoubtedly heard the expression “You can’t please all the people all the time.” So, stop trying!

If you derive your self-worth and self-esteem from making other people happy but at your own expense (time, money, health, effort, energy), you are hurting yourself. Being a people-pleaser causes stress from over-committing, collecting “responsibilities,” and mental, emotional and physical drain.

You’re not hurting them by saying “no.” if they get hurt it is because they have expectations. That is not your responsibility, nor is it under your control.

Attention Current and Future Parents

There is too much guilt and fear, especially with parents, to be perceived as a good parent. But their definition of a good parent may not be a healthy one. Parents need to model self-love, self-acceptance, self-nourishing, self-care and self-reliance so their children will learn how to take care of themselves when they become independent.

So please, redefine taking time to care for yourself as self-preservation. Self-preservation is necessary for our overall well-being, as well as a necessary model we must set for our children. It also sets the tone for how others will treat you. People treat us the way we treat ourselves.  If you don’t’ treat yourself as a worthy priority, no one else will either.

We have to stop the guilt associated with self-care. We must love and honor ourselves as we love and honor others. We have to make this a priority because if we don’t, not only will we suffer, but so will our relationships. Unhealthy, stressed, tired, and unfulfilled people tend toward reactive, insensitive, and negative behavior. They become uncaring, uninvolved, distracted, impatient, and oblivious. No one wins.

What We Give to Ourselves, We Extend to Others

The added bonus to learning to give to yourself is that once you do, you will automatically learn to give to others. This works with love, acceptance, patience, respect, forgiveness, compassion, consideration, trust, joy, and attention to needs and well-being.

What we give to ourselves, we extend to others.

Isn’t this a beautiful gift that everyone in your life deserves? This way everyone wins because they get the best you have to offer, including you.

One of the many memorable experiences from my three years working collaboratively in a special-needs classroom demonstrates this idea perfectly. As I view self-acceptance as an extremely important need, I would model for them and instruct each one of them to give themselves a pat on the back when they did a good job, at anything. Eventually, I noticed they started doing it spontaneously, without my direction. And then, they started patting each other on the back. (Simply awesome!)

Now that you can see the difference between true selfishness and taking care of oneself, you can start thinking a different way. The terms self-preservation, self-nurturing, self-reliance and the phrase “honoring oneself” will usually work better when you think you are being selfish. (I am attending to my self-preservation. I am honoring myself. I am taking care of my oldest and best friend, me.) Why should you treat everyone else better than you treat yourself? You wouldn’t neglect others you care about the way you do you. Why should anybody else’s needs be more important than your own? How can making time for your oldest and dearest friend be considered selfish?

So, as you can see, tending to your needs isn’t selfish at all, and if some one cares about you, they should want you to take care of yourself. Tending to you needs replenishes you so you have more to give. An empty cup can feed no one. Give from your overflow.

Life is about finding a balance. Isn’t it time you gave yourself permission to put yourself on your priorities list?

If you have trouble believing that you deserve this attention from yourself, try repeating the following validation to yourself as often as possible and in a mirror when possible. Post it on a sticky note, carry a copy in your pocket, do whatever you have to do to add this to your beliefs.

I deserve to treat myself as well as I treat others. I love myself and I will treat myself with love.

If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate in letting me know.

May you perceive and receive all your blessings.

With Much Love,

Rev. Michele

Copyright © 2012 Indigo Sky, LLC; All Rights Reserved

 

Sidebar: I strongly believe that the constantly increasing incidence of breast cancer in men and women with the age of occurrence getting younger is due to the decrease and often elimination of self-care. The goal of being a “superwoman” or “superman” and being able to do it all, in my opinion, is a dangerous pursuit and impossible one.

The breasts are literally a source of nourishment and nurturing. Energetically, issues with the breasts are messages from the body to nourish and nurture oneself. This is why I believe the above statement so strongly.

Please share this post with any “superwomen” or “supermen” you know as a preventive health care measure, a life improvement strategy and an awakening for parental responsibility in being a role model for self-care.

12 Comments

  1. great info. i have a friend that needs to read this. thanks

    • Thanks Rebecca. I hope your friend can find what they need on my site.
      Peace,
      Michele

  2. I love this article as this is the story of my life. I always put family, boyfriend and friends needs above my own needs. Every time I do that I feel fulfilled and pride about myself. But sometimes I feel down because I don’t put myself or my needs forward and I often feel disappointed by people because they don’t do the same for me. Can you please give me further assistance ?Thank you.

    • Hi Laly,
      I am so grateful you enjoyed the article. Unfortunately, this is the story of a lot of people’s lives. Here are my suggestions:
      1.You have to believe you are worthy of taking time to satisfy your needs; that your health (mental, physical, spiritual,and creative) is as important as anyone else’s. Please check out the article on my site -Gaining Self-Acceptance: Steps 1 and 2. Take the time to do this for yourself and you will have less difficulty with the next suggestion.
      2. We teach others how to treat us. If you don’t show others that your needs are important by how you treat yourself, then they won’t either. This requires setting boundaries, saying “no” (or that doesn’t work for me) and scheduling “me time.”
      3. You may derive some of your identity from being the caretaker and/or the go-to person. If you do, recognize that YOU deserve a caretaker too.
      I hope these suggestions help. Please let me know.
      May peace and love be with you always,
      Michele

    • Hi Laly,
      Something came to me that I wanted to share with you.
      In your original email, you said “I often feel disappointed by people because they don’t do the same for me.” What this tells me is that you have expectations following at least some of the things you do for others. In other words, there are strings attached, expectations of reciprocation.
      Expectations most often lead to disappointment, so you should try to eliminate your expectations. If you cannot do things for others without theses expectations, then you should probably not do them, for you own health.
      To me, disappointment is a slow death of the soul. I couldn’t deal with the frequent feelings of being disappointed, so one of the first mantras I used and integrated was “No Expectations, No Disappointment.”
      May peace and love be with you always,
      Michele

    • Hi Laly,
      Happy 2013! I just wanted to check in and see how you were doing. If there is anything I can do to aid your progress, please let me know.
      May peace and love be with you always,
      Michele

  3. Thank you for the great content!

    • I am gratful you liked it, Tom. Please come back and visit again soon.
      May peace and love be with you always,
      Michele

  4. Once again another great entry. I actually have a few things to ask you, would be have some time to answer them?

    • Thank you, Mandi. Email me at michele@returnlove(dot)org. I’ll be happy to answer any questions I can.
      Peace,
      Michele

  5. Rather valuable answer

    • Thank you, Donald. Please come back and visit again soon. 🙂
      May you perceive and receive all your blessings.
      With Much Love,
      Rev. Michele

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