Have you ever felt like a bitch, maybe even been called one, for speaking up for yourself? Do you get angry when folks just expect you to take care of things, and are you plum tired of not getting ahead? Maybe it’s time to get a little selfish.
“Selfish” is one of those words that needs a better publicist. In our era of mass consumption when we think of the word selfish, images of greed come to mind. We live in a – what’s in it for me – society, so being selfish means looking out for number one first and foremost. While being self centered has the possibility to swing to the extreme and become narcissistic, and we all know certain characters in power who exhibit this trait, a level of selfishness is also needed to become an authentic, confident person.
It’s all about knowing what you want in life and understanding your personal integral line in the sand. To do that you have to go within and decide what will be included on that list. It’s about writing your own story of life instead of letting life decide for you, and for that you need to be a little self-seeking, self-interested and yes, even self-indulgent.
Here’s another word that gets a bad wrap – ego.
In order for you to understand your place in this world you need to have a healthy ego. Your ego’s number one job is to protect the self. It responds to the programs of the subconscious and says, this experience has hurt us in the past so we need to avoid it or at the very least voice our displeasure over it. Or if the experience was good, or gave us some sort of positive stimulus our ego says, oh yeah, got to get some more of that. So if you want to develop an ego that works for your highest self, one that can steer you towards your dreams and goals, the programs in your subconscious need to be rewritten so that you have a confident enough psyche to accomplish them.
When you don’t have a healthy ego but instead you have a need to please, here is where selfishness becomes negative. So if someone criticizes you because you spoke up for yourself and you have the need to please others as well, that criticism will be absorbed into your subconscious as a unpleasant experience. Maybe you felt like a bitch. Maybe you were even called one. Your ego will try to protect you from similar negative experiences in the future and may result in you refraining from speaking up for yourself like that again.
If though, you have taken the time to be a little selfish and decided for yourself who you want to be and what you will tolerate from other people’s actions, your ego will choose to protect you by avoiding that situation again, not because it wanted to please another but because it wanted to please you.
Once you know what you want out of life and decide where your personal line of integrity in the proverbial sand is, then you can go about the task of freely offering your service to the world. You have created boundaries around what is important in your life which then becomes a platform for how you want to show up and serve.
Criticism may still hurt, you are human after all, but your sense of self will be strong and so after you brush off the negativity, your ego will go back to seeking the positive experiences much quicker so you can get on with your dreams.
Here is one more piece of wisdom to remember. People who lash out and criticize you are folks who do not have a healthy sense of themselves. They are coming at you from the angle of defense. Their ego is only trying to protect them. They may not be used to you or others, saying no and going against their desires so this is an unpleasant experience for them which their ego will do it’s best to avoid. Don’t take their response personally, it’s only their ego doing it’s job.
Being selfish in the context that I am suggesting which is to understand yourself enough to be confident in your wants, needs and opinions is needed in order to be selfless and serve others to your highest ability.
Life is about being in service to others. We serve in different roles throughout it. Daughter, lover, mother, employee, boss; these all have an expectation that you will give of yourself in some way, but it is in how you give that makes the difference between an empowered life and one of servitude. There is a very fine line between selfless and martyr. That line needs to have an element of selfishness woven in it like threads of steel in order to be able to protect yourself so that you can live your own confident life.
When you freely share your true gifts, that is indeed an act of selflessness, but first you need to be selfish enough so you can figure out what they are. Being a little selfish is a good thing, the world could use a few more folks with the confidence to place their own dreams above the desires of others so that they can then confidently go out into the world and gift us with the results.