Selfish in September

Maybe it's because I used to be a teacher, but for me, September is the real "new year."  That's the time I look forward to the clean slate, the brand-new notebook, and revisiting goals.

Think about the goals you set in January - bravo to you for the ones already accomplished; let's talk about those still to be checked off the list.

Our culture has led us to believe that selfishness is a bad thing, and that putting other people's needs before our own is somehow a noble act.  But I have noticed that the reason for the unfulfilled goals on my lists is often my lack of selfishness.

So it is good to be selfish?  No one seems to argue the airplane advice to put an oxygen mask on yourself before masking children around you in the event of an emergency.  In that situation, we get it:  the kids need us to be alive.  

Why not apply that same logic to the rest of life?  The famous heart surgeon Dr. Mehmet Oz once likened the role of caretaker to the role of the heart:  the heart is responsible for the lives of every organ in the body, and yet, it knows that it has to fill itself up first in order to have something to pump out the everyone else.  Basically, your body needs your heart to be alive.  

How much time do we take to fill ourselves up with true nourishment before we thoroughly deplete ourselves ensuring the happiness of those around us?  Maybe our goals would be easier to attain if we actually took on life the way our hearts do.

As you revisit your goals list, think about what needs to happen in order for the goal to become a reality.  If you have "exercise" as a goal, how can you (selfishly) prioritize yourself so that you feel nourished?  This might mean cutting into someone else's time/schedule/attention, but think about the end result that everyone around you is getting:  an unexercised version of you that might be resentful, moody, irritable...versus the uplifted, endorphin-high, accomplished version of you.  Which one is really serving them better?

It took me a very long time to be ok with selfishly taking good care of myself, and in hindsight I see that it comes from gradually moving into a place of self-love:  "I deserve to feel good, for me and for those around me."  

If this feels far from where you are, then apply the strategy I use for making any changes in life - add in something small and focus on how good it makes you feel.  Maybe you take a walk one day, maybe you add in some deep breathing in the car while you are driving, maybe you drink more water throughout the day...whatever it is, know that it is something for YOU because you deserve to feel as good as you make those around you feel.