Health & Wellness Living in Recovery Mental Health

Don’t be Afraid to be Selfish

We exist within a civilization that emphasizes people to be as self-less as they possibly can every day. Make sure you tell your family you love them; take the time to volunteer; respect your elders; don’t forget to check on your friends. Read More

Don't be afraid to be selfish

It’s normal to forget about yourself.

We exist within a civilization that emphasizes people to be as self-less as they possibly can every day. Make sure you tell your family you love them; take the time to volunteer; respect your elders; don’t forget to check on your friends. Within all this caring, there is one very important person that is continuously left out: you. We end up becoming so focus on making sure our family, friends, and even complete strangers are happy and satisfied with what we’re doing, we don’t even consider our own happiness and satisfaction. And though it seems to be a too-obvious-to-point-out type of problem, it is still a problem that people have trouble with overcoming.

People don’t think that they have to be reminded to care for themselves, but if you went up to a stranger and asked them, “hey what did you do for yourself today?”, odds are they either don’t have an answer, or they list their everyday activities; “going to work” isn’t something you did for yourself. If we were to step and analyze our everyday lives, we’d see how disconnected we are from ourselves. Focusing on the outside so much and making sure that what we’re doing is impressive to the outside, the inside disappears into the shadows.

Letting our insides disappear is a detrimental habit.

Let’s play a game. Take out a piece of paper and write down all the things that you can think of that makes you happy or things that you like to do—any hobby, activity, item, whatever makes your insides’ warm. Now, make another list of your everyday activities; write down the things that you tend to find yourself doing on a routine basis. Now, compare the two lists. During your everyday routines, are you doing anything that makes your insides’ warm? Do your regular activities include things that make you feel good? How similar or how different are your two lists? If you see that your list has more differences then similarities, we just came across a problem.

No matter how busy or filled your days may be, it is absolutely unhealthy to not make time for some happiness. Making time for the people and things that make you feel good is like keeping your body on a balanced diet. Let’s say the only types of foods you put into your body were sweets, junk food and everything fried. Though these foods taste good, after some time, your body is going to start begging you for something healthy; our brains operate the same way. If we keep feeding it junk and stress, eventually it is going to start begging for the things that make it happy.

I had to step back, make this list for myself and realize that what I was doing on a regular basis were not things that were making me happy. Of course, I didn’t stop handling my responsibilities, but, I needed to make sure to add warmth to my schedule.

So, how can you practice being selfish in a healthy way?

DeoniaFinally realizing that I needed to start caring for Deiona much more, I developed certain tactics and strategies in order to make my days a little more about me and not shun myself out from the happiness. Maybe my little routines will give you a spark back in your day:

  1. The two-hour rule: I cannot lie, some days I do get very overwhelmed with the amount of work I am attempting to accomplish. However, one thing I always try to incorporate into at least 5 out of 7 of my days is just two hours to reset. Regardless of how much I want to check off of my to-do list, I will make sure that I get those two hours; and it’s not even just a nap. Sometimes I’ll read a chapter or 2 of my most current book; maybe I’ll write an article for my personal blog; or even just breathe in and out. regardless of what I do, those two hours are my two hours.
  2. Planner focus on warmth, not just a to-do list: I’m a huge organizer and I need to write everything down or I’ll most likely forget it; this includes having Deiona time. Because of how my brain operates, I know that if I don’t write it down and physically check it off, odds are it’s either not going to get done or I won’t remember it got done because I don’t have a record of it; I even write down my two-hour rule to make sure that I don’t zone out and forget about myself.
  3. Telling the reflection “I Love You!”: At first, I found this to be weird. Now I do talk to myself every once in a while—ok, maybe more often than what I think—but physically stepping back and saying “I love you!” to yourself really feels good. True love always has to start from within and if you don’t love yourself, you can’t truly love anything else. Internal love is the most important love to have.
  4. Reading the Bible [or any text]: I am an individual who has recently really connected with her faith and spirituality. If I am feeling uneasy, unsure or restless, I turn to my bible. Now, it doesn’t have to be a bible, of course it can be any religious text you normally have. My lord has given me great guidance and has built the love I have for myself.
  5. Making time for loved ones: I absolutely love being around my friends and family. And sometimes, I get so overwhelmed, I forget how sane they keep me. Even if it’s just once a month, it is essential to arrange some family and friend time. Getting a nice dosage of love and being able to vent about my stress to the people I love is such a great relief.
Never forget to have those moments of selfishness.

If anyone tries to tell you that you can’t take the time to put yourself first, please remind them that your happiness is important too. Living in a world where people are always telling us not to be selfish and always put others before you, sometimes, we forget that self-love doesn’t mean we’re being wickedly selfish. It is always important for people to take the time out for themselves and to acknowledge mindfulness, especially during the times in which our bodies, hearts and minds are recovering. Taking the time out for yourself is much needed and remembering to always practice self-love is important; we should never be afraid to be a little selfish.

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