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Saturday, October 15, 2011

It really is OK to be selfish!

How many times have you heard growing up that you shouldn't be selfish.  Focusing on yourself is a negative thing to be avoided.  Women especially are always taught to put everyone above ourselves at all times even more so than men.  Not saying that men are not taught this ;) but as a whole they are also encouraged to be more self-reliant and competitive etc. 

So today I am going to cover a controversial subject - "Selfishness" and show you how being selfish is in fact the greatest gift you can give not only to yourself, but to everyone around you! 

What? I can hear you ask... How can being selfish possibly help me be a better parent, spouse, worker, etc.

Great question - I'll explain.

When we deny ourselves we also deny others.  Why? The answer is simple you cannot effectively give to others what you do not already possess within yourself.  If you spend all your time putting your needs on the back burner so that you can serve others at your own expense you do no one any favors. 

Remember, everyday when you look in that mirror, your only one true soulmate, the best friend you can possibly ever have who will always be there with you through everything, is the one looking back at you.  No one will ever or can ever fulfill you but you.

I remember a line in the famous movie "Jerry Maguire" that everyone thought was so sweet and it made me cringe a little.  "You complete me".  No other person can make you whole unless you already feel fulfilled yourself.  It's a nice idea, but it is simply not true.  When we rely on others to "make us happy" etc. we will always fall short, because the only soul on the face of this earth who knows what you truly want and need is you.  There is only one of you and you require no other person to be complete because the "all" already resides within you.  You are already a complete being - you just need to recognize and embrace it.  Others can complement you, can enhance you, but they cannot every "complete" you because you are NOT broken or incomplete to begin with.

We tend to get lost in others.  We don't take the time for ourselves to discover what our true desires are and we turn to others - selfishly ( in the wrong sense I might add), to provide us a sense of self-worth or value. 

Suddenly our children, spouses, friends etc. are burdened with the weight of being what "makes us happy".  This is an unfair burden and it is stifling to everyone concerned.  How do you feel when someone says that you don't make them happy? Chances are you feel defensive and that it's unfair.

When I take time to figure out who I am, I become strong and self-assured.  This allows me to teach my children independence, self-confidence, and it also gives others around me permission to be who they truly are without filters.  Because I am already fulfilled, others actions cannot cause me to lose my sense of worth.

Selfishness is the key to deeper, truer love and it is the best way to give all you have to others.  When you are fulfilled and joyful that energy radiates from you, it manifests in an abundance that you can then share with those around you.  Selfishness is about giving - not taking as we are taught..

Selfishness (in the correct context) leads people to seek the higher in themselves, to be truly fulfilled and at peace in their lives.  They no longer feel anger towards others for not meeting their expectations, because they can do that for themselves.  Strong, independent "selfish" people draw to them other strong people who are their equals.  They lead by example and encourage strength and independence in others. 

I believe that the reason our divorce rates are so high is because we are not selfish enough(in the right way) and are too selfish in the wrong context - we focus too much on others for a sense of self-worth and ultimately it fails, leaving us angry and empty.  We neglect our health(mental, spiritual) in our desire to be "selfless",  but those who know no self actually burden those around them.  When you get into a relationship or in a group of others who also are not "selfish" enough they in turn put the burden of their happiness and sense of self-worth unfairly on you.

Many teachers have taught us this in the past - "Be the change you want to see in the world" is one of my favorite quotes.  In other words, don't focus on what the other guy is doing wrong that offends you, work instead on focusing on your self - fixing you, so that you can lead by example... "Be selfish!"

In short there are two kinds of selfish - the wrong kind - that puts the burden of your joy, success, sense of worth on others unfairly and the right kind - the kind that is self-focused and positive allowing you to be independent but still compassionate and loving. 

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