Day 105. Being selfish – A tough pill to swallow for some.

So, we’ve gone past the third month mile marker of my own recovery, and since I started the blog I have to say that I’ve learnt an incredible amount, retained enough information to start danipedia and helped a lot of people along the way at the same time. I find myself sitting here weighing up “what if I hadn’t decided to chart my journey and open up”?! Well I did and not only has it helped me to keep my head straight 75% of the time by uncluttering and organising my thoughts, but also shown me an incredible wealth of knowledge that goes hand in hand with my own experiences, in hospital, in recovery and also the dark times of which I talk about often. You’ve all helped me each in your own way and I thank you all very dearly! We have a great group of people here indeed and you couldn’t pay for the wisdom that you’ve all shared with, well, not just me but the rest of the world too! Lately though I’ve had to try being a little selfish with my time and those close to me will tell you how hard that can be for me because I’ve always put others first.


Lots of people think being selfless means not thinking of yourself at all. We’re taught that it’s selfish to put yourself first, and that you are not allowed to make yourself a priority.


Not only is this WRONG, it’s actually a dangerous thing to tell people. If you teach people not to consider their own interests at all, there are so many things that can go wrong. It can lead to you staying in an unhappy relationship, or allowing yourself to be taken advantage of because you think it would be selfish of you to refuse.


This is completely untrue.


Being selfish means you don’t consider or care about the impact that your actions will have on anyone else. All that matters is you, and you will do anything to ensure the best outcome for yourself, no matter the consequences for anyone else.


To be honest, sometimes you need to be a little selfish. There are times when you do need to look out for yourself, and only yourself. But that’s a thought for another time. Right now, I’m trying to show that you don’t need to be selfish to look out for yourself. Being selfless is often misinterpreted as not ever thinking about yourself, and prioritizing other people, no matter what it means for you. This is false. Utterly false. Many people also mistake having low self-esteem for being selfless. If you are doing things for other people all the time, without any thought of how this will affect you, you need to have a long look in the mirror, and ask yourself: are you doing this because you think it’s the right thing to do, or because you believe that other people have more value than you do?


In reality, being selfless does not mean sabotaging yourself for the sake of others. What it means is that you consider other people, and if your actions will hurt people for no good reason, you take the path that will benefit other people. It does not mean that you abandon your own priorities.


Your Priorities…


One of the inspirations for this blog was a discussion I had with a friend, where the question of priorities came up. We talked about priorities in lots of different spheres of life, but I want to focus on two areas: relationships and career goals. I’ll start with relationships, and we’ll take it from there.


Priorities in relationships


Lots of people get into relationships without ever asking one specific question: What do I want from a partner?
It’s a question some people consider selfish, but without knowing the answer, any relationship is likely to fail. Think about it, how would you know if a person is right for you if you don’t know what “right” means? This isn’t to say you need to have a list 5 miles long, describing every physical and mental attribute you want in a potential partner. But you do need to be sure of some things. What do you need in a partner? Someone who smothers you in affection when you feel down, or someone who will give you space to work things out on your own?


You also need to be sure of what YOU want going forward. Do you have a life plan that a potential partner would need to adapt to? Do you want kids? And how flexible a person are you? These are just some basic questions that you should be able to answer. If you can’t answer, then how will you know how to evaluate a relationship with someone else when you don’t even know what you want? How can someone else make you happy when you aren’t sure what you need to be happy?
What I’m trying to say is before you can make a real connection with someone else, you need to make a connection with yourself. You need to know what it is you want. And (this is sometimes really hard) you need to be able to prioritise yourself enough to accept when something is not working for you. If you talk to your partner, and it’s not an issue of communication or compromise, but it’s something that fundamentally undermines your happiness, you need to be able to walk away without feeling that you should have stayed in order to please the other person. Your happiness is your responsibility. Take ownership of it.


Priorities in Career and Life


Sometimes the path you’re taking seems like it’ll never end, and it’s not worth the struggle. At that point, I want to challenge you to consider a few things:

· The Goal — Is the end goal something that you want? That will bring you happiness?

· The Path — Will the path you’re on lead to the goal that will bring you happiness?

· Your Mindset — Are the path and the goal both correct, and you’re still struggling?


The Goal


Sometimes we start down a path without really considering where it is going. You may want to become a doctor, but you didn’t realise how long the shifts are, and the responsibilities that come with it. If you find yourself realising that the goal itself is not something you want, even if you could have it today without putting in any more effort, then you may need to reconsider what you are working towards, and may need to find a new goal.
Ask yourself what your happiness looks like, and what the best way is to get there. Sometimes the answer may surprise you.


The Path


Your goal may be firm in your mind, but when you look again, you realise you aren’t on track to get there. You may need to check whether the steps you are taking, and the places you are spending your energy will contribute to you reaching your goal, or slow your process down.
A good way to do that is to write down all the activities you do in a typical week in a day to day calendar, including the time you spend sleeping, travelling, and even sitting around doing nothing. This will help you determine which activities may be hindering your progress, or may even surprise you by showing you that you are closer to the goal than you thought.


Your Mindset


Sometimes you are doing all the right things, but still feel like it isn’t worth the trouble. You may need to consider how you are thinking about the path and goal you are working towards. You may be focusing only on the negative aspects of your journey, and ignoring the progress that you are making.


If your goal and path are both correct, sometimes you just need to power through the uncertainty. I’m not saying it’s not difficult, because it is. All I’m saying is it’ll be worth it. Visualise yourself reaching the goal one step at a time, because you are.


So…

To end off, I am asking you to value yourself. Each of you reading this deserves to be happy, and I hope you believe that. Make yourself a priority, and don’t allow anyone to devalue you. You are not being selfish by prioritising your happiness. In fact, you are taking a step to becoming a person who can benefit everyone around them, because you know the value you can bring.

If you have any thoughts on this, I’d love to hear the different points of view! You can leave a response down below, private message me or email through the page. Alternatively book a time slot through the page and I’ll gladly call you for a chat, that especially goes for people struggling at the moment! Thanks gang! What a great, wonderful and lovely bunch you are! Much love!

Till next time.

Dan

P.s I’m back!!

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