Dropping “Selfish”

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Selfie in cold running gear

 

When did taking time for yourself become ‘being selfish’? Why do people refer to it as out of the ordinary when you decide to do something to take care of yourself? Isn’t that just a natural part of living? This is especially true for parents. If a mom takes up a hobby or sport, she’s “being selfish”. Why is that? Let me tell you, if I weren’t taking care of myself, I wouldn’t have the energy to take care of anyone else. I don’t think that is selfish. It is wise.

This is the time of year when people in public are more rude, mean, and in a hurry. It happens all year long, but it is more prevalent when the stores are full and the days are short. The people who assume that whatever their needs are, they are ahead of anyone else surrounding them. The man who carelessly weaves in and out of traffic because he needs to get to his location before anyone else and disregards the safety and comfort of others. The woman who huffs and puffs in the grocery line because SHE is in a hurry and therefore more important than those in front of her in line. Even the person who feels he should police his fellow driver on the road by going under the speed limit to anger the person behind who may be in a hurry to get to an emergency. The people who refuse to accept anything outside of their own opinion or understanding. Why is it common to be selfish in those situations, but label anyone who practices self care to be so?

When we take care of ourselves by eating well, resting, praying, and/or finding time for physical exercise, we are giving ourselves the energy to be more positive in our interactions with others. We could also be setting a good example for those who look to us for inspiration. Being selfish is a blatant disregard for other people. Taking care of yourself doesn’t disregard other people.

Obviously, I’m not saying that running away from problems and/or people isn’t selfish. If you have obligations in life, those need to be taken care of. Especially if your work affects someone else, you should at least try to do it, but you shouldn’t be ashamed to decline the things you simply cannot do. You shouldn’t be expected to spread yourself too thin to prove your loyalty to a person, job, or organization. If you give all of your life to them, what’s left for you?

Give yourself the gift of time to take care of yourself and you’ll find that you’re better able to help others in the process. By being a positive, energetic, and thoughtful individual, you can find more joy in your life. Lose the word ‘selfish’ when you’re describing the time you take for yourself. Don’t let people make you feel guilty for needing time to spend away from work to be with family or away from family to spend on your health and wellness.

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