Go ahead, be SELFISH…It’s GOOD for you
You know how when you’re on the plane, getting ready to take off, and the flight attendant (or more often these days, an actor on a video) explains the safety procedures in case of emergency? They don’t tell you to take care of everyone else first and then focus on your own needs. Nope. Those wise flight attendants urge us to place an oxygen mask on OURSELVES before helping anyone else.
They don’t even say that parents should put an oxygen mask on their children first...their children! You’re not supposed to help the people in society who depend on others for their very survival – until you have already taken care of your own needs.
What does that really mean?
That YOU come first...ALWAYS. In every single aspect of your entire life. YOU are the one you should be pleasing.
In fact, the best thing you can do for yourself and those around you – including your children – is to be selfish. That’s because it’s a gateway step to freeing yourself of your emotional pain.
Being selfish unchains you from your pain and brings in more happiness and joy. Because you can’t feel the deep emotions underlying your pain unless you actually take the time to do so.
And you can’t work to forgive the pain, accept the situation, and take many other necessary steps in your spiritual journey unless you allow yourself to be the focus of your attention. (One caveat: You need to reserve certain times where you can focus solely on you, not live your whole life that way.)
The problem, as I see it, is that the word selfish gets a bad rap in our society. When most people think of what selfish means, they usually conjure up images of neglecting others, ignoring responsibilities and, perhaps most distressing to consider, saying no to whatever you “should” be doing.
If you take time to be selfish occassionally, society would have you think that you’re callous, inconsiderate, cold, and uncaring. How DARE you spend 20 minutes relaxing in a warm bubble bath while your sink is loaded with dirty dishes! How could you even DREAM of sitting down for 30 minutes to read your favorite book when there are bills to be paid, errands to be run, and groceries to be bought?!
So the mom who is frazzled, exhausted, and over-scheduled but has an immaculate house, well-dressed children, and active social life does a much bigger disservice to her kids than a mom who is grounded, peaceful, and calm despite (or because of) her untidy house, children who dress themselves, and a deep connection with her partner.
But no one second-guesses the flight attendants’ direction to put our own oxygen mask on first. Instead, travelers take their advice as gospel. So why can’t we do the same in our daily lives?
Go ahead...take some time for YOU.
Take a nap. Go for a walk around the neighborhood or your favorite park. Stay home and read that self-improvement book instead of going to a friend of a friend’s BBQ party. Relax in a bath after the kids go to bed. Wake up early to meditate.
It doesn’t matter what it looks like to carve out time only for you. Just do it. You and everyone else around you will reap the rewards.
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