Monday, August 5, 2013

Take a Dose of Selfish, and Call Me in the Morning

When it comes to staying healthy, the role of selfishness can't be overestimated. We often hear how being selfish is not an admirable way to be. You're taught that helping others is more satisfying than helping yourself. Giving to others is better than giving to yourself. Caring for others is preferable to caring for yourself. Instead of adopting this mindset, it can be powerful to try out a new one. Take a dose of selfish, and call me in the morning.

Attending to personal health requires the skill of being selfish. And yes, it is a skill. We're so trained to see selflessness as the ideal that being selfish can feel uncomfortable at first. Selfishness, however, is important when trying to achieve anything in life. For example, if you want to publish a book one day, you'd have to be selfish with your time to have the opportunity to write. Want to enter a degree program? Then you'd have to be selfish with your resources and energy expenditure. Do you want to be healthy? In that case, it's wise to list selfishness among your top health care priorities. It even has to come before diet, exercise, and other specific health care regimens.

Being selfish isn't always bad. Health takes energy, prioritizing, time investment, and putting yourself first. It takes the courage to put your hand up and say "no" when you feel like outside influences are hindering your health. It also takes the brazenness to declare that you as an individual are just as worthy of getting your attention than other people.

I've seen stubborn cases of skin issues, weight gain, and many other health complaints improve from someone putting his or her foot down and deciding to be more selfish toward health and life in general. It's not always easy. When you decide to be more selfish, fears can arise surrounding doing things your own way and for yourself. You might be scared of how people you know will react. Your new approach can snag on others' expectations of you and the attention they're used to getting from you. Being there for yourself and for others doesn't have to be mutually exclusive, however.

When you are taking care of yourself the way that you need to, you'll have more energy and opportunity to be there for others in a realistic way. You'll also realize what your limits are and how much you're capable of giving to others without sacrificing your own health. You'll experience increased energy, more relaxation, and more balance in the way you approach life, health, and your relationships. You'll also be less likely to freely give away time and energy that you don't have available to give.

Think about your health. Do you feel like more selfishness is needed for you to feel and look the way you want? If so, ask yourself the following:
  • Where do you feel you've been giving away time and energy that you don't have available to give?
  • What areas of your health are asking for more attention?
  • How can you re-prioritize to allow more space for selfishness?
  • What fears come up when you think about living life more selfishly?
  • What does healthy selfishness mean to you?
As you continue on your journey toward health, experiment with doses of selfish and see how it goes!

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