Let’s re-frame the word “selfish”
When I was about 20 years old, I read a book titled, “When I Say “No”, I Feel Guilty”. That book was an eye-opener for me. As a shy college student, I wanted to be liked, I wanted to think of myself as a nice person, and I was afraid to deal with conflict. I thought saying “Yes” was the nice thing to do. Eventually, I got the hang of saying “No”, but I must admit the temptation to feel guilty can still rear it’s ugly head. Loving myself enough to be “selfish” is an ongoing process.
A lot of us were taught to believe that it’s “selfish” to ask for what you want, or say “No” to what you don’t want. But stop and think about it: Who was the first person to accuse you of being “selfish”? It was probably a parent or maybe a sibling. As very young children, we learn that we’re supposed to play nice, share our toys, and let Johnny go first. These are important lessons for a 3 year old. But as an adult, if you ignore your own needs in order to play Mr. Nice Guy, you lose. You lose your self-respect, your power, and your autonomy. It might make everyone around you happy, but are you happy?
Here are five clues that you may not be selfish enough:
1) You’re more concerned with what’s fair to others than what’s fair to you.
2) You attract people who are very focused on themselves.
3) You’re afraid to ask for what you want.
4) You’re not sure what you want.
5) When you say “No”, you feel guilty.
Let’s turn it around.
- Give yourself permission to be selfish. Give yourself permission to be self-loving.
- Listen to your gut feelings. Is your gut saying “Yes” or “No”? If someone asks you to do something, check in with how you feel. Does the thought of doing it make you feel heavy or light?
- Know that if you say “No”, the other person is free to react however they choose, but you don’t need to feel guilty about being true to yourself.
- Take time in solitude to listen deeply to the prayer of your heart. What is your heart’s desire? Then, have the courage to ask for what you want.
- Take some steps, however big or small, to create a life that makes your soul sing.
As Jeshua says, in The Way of Mastery, “Self love is the love of the Creator. You cannot love the Creator while rejecting the Creator’s creation.”
So, it turns out that loving yourself is actually the spiritual thing to do! Who knew?
Leave a comment and let me know an act of self-loving-kindness that you did today.