by Sibyl McLendon
Do you remember your parents telling you never to be selfish? I think this is a fairly common thread among most everyone. Most parents drill into a child to always share, to always do a favor for another person and to put others before yourself. This is good advice for children, after all, we don’t want to raise a child who is a greedy person, do we?
However, learning lessons as children can often come back to bite us in the derriere as adults. We learn these lessons using a child’s emotional view of the world, and tend to never rethink them as adults, using our adult logic. We embrace this view of ‘selfishness’ and integrate it into our personality in ways that hold us back as adults.
Always putting others needs and wants before our own can lead to becoming a resentful, unhappy doormat. Never being able to say NO to a request is a sure sign of low self esteem in an adult. Everyone needs a certain amount of selfishness in order to thrive in this world. If you are ever going to be a happy, successful person who has achieved goals for themselves, you are going to have to learn to be selfish.
You are just as deserving of having your needs and wants met as anyone else! You are just as deserving of time to yourself, to do anything you wish to do with it. Your life, your time is worth whatever you decide it is worth. Don’t be the perpetual giver who never receives.
The totally unselfish person tends to think that people won’t like them if they say no to a favor or take time just for themselves. The reality is, if you are surrounded by people who won’t like you if you say no to them for a good reason, they aren’t really your friends! They are users who can spot a giver a mile off. A true friend wants you to be happy and successful. They will do for you as much as you do for them. This is the nurturing, balanced relationship a true friendship should be. And the same is true for family.
Never getting your needs met, always putting others before yourself, can lead to some very negative things in your life, such as resentment, anger and even illness. Eventually, you will burn out. And when you do, you will overreact and make everyone around you wonder what the heck happened.
Ask yourself, would you treat a loved one the way you treat yourself? Look inside and find your value. Then you will be able to treat yourself as if you love yourself, as if you are your own best friend. You will learn to value your time and your gifts, and to receive as much as you give.
This is not a bad thing! It is a healthy thing. Take time for yourself on a regular basis. Ask for help when you have a need. Find that healthy balance between giving and receiving. The people around you may be shocked at first, but if they really care for you, they will adjust. When you learn to value and nurture yourself, you begin to attract like-minded people to you, and valuable situations and
opportunities will follow.
You might be very surprised at the energy you are sending out to others when you do not value yourself. In nature, when a bird feels the nest is threatened, it will thrash about as if it were wounded to attract the threat away from the nest. Do people view you as a wounded soul, thrashing about? If so, what are you protecting? It may be time to take a long, hard look at your nest and what or what isn't in it.
Be as good to yourself as you would be to your best friend. When you can think of yourself as a person with value, with needs and wants that deserve to be met, being a little selfish will come naturally to you. Good luck!