Exploring my own selfishness
One of the most harmful things you could call me, is selfish.
I remember being called selfish when I was younger, and it has always been something that I have been very aware of. Yet... it is a word I battle with on an almost daily basis.
I have always been stubborn. I have always been willful. I have always spoken my mind and yes... I have continuously gone out of my way to get what I want. I can be very 'one track minded' and if I decide to go for something, it generally happens... sometimes with very little regard for the obstacles in my path.
I have a constant internal conversation with myself over whether my chosen path in life is selfish. Whether I am a selfish person. Whether my desire to have 'more' in my life makes me selfish. And perhaps there are people who see the transition I made eighteen months ago in my career as selfish - because in truth - I didn't hold a huge amount of regard for others in my decision to leave a steady, reliable and thriving business in order to pursue a deeper, more expansive version of myself.
I just knew I had to.
Don't get me wrong - I was in turmoil about 'letting others down'... that part of the process was far from easy and I worried about what people would think.
As a fiercely determined and ambitious person, who has at times been referred to as a bulldozer, deep down I am soft hearted with a deep desire to be loved, adored and seen as a 'nice person'. Dilemma in itself there - because there are times when not everyone agrees with the choices I have made and it has been a big part of my journey to accept that I cannot please everyone, while also pleasing myself. And that is where the conversation often comes to... is it selfish to do things that please myself?
I knew that despite wanting to please everyone, I was going to leave my previous PR & Marketing business and do what I wanted to, regardless of what anyone else said. And perhaps in that process I didn't totally listen to the concerns of people around me.
I know that people who love me have stood by and watched me make this transition in my business, and they have felt fear for me. And I am sorry for causing any unnecessary suffering - it was never intentional. To some it seems I have been reckless and crazy, and others have been totally baffled as to how I could leave stability and security and walk a very different path to the one that seemed to be working so well for me.
Our decisions don't always make logical sense. Especially when they come from the heart.
Sometimes, I get so much pleasure out of my work, that it feels shameful to charge money for it. I feel guilty that I get to support others in a way that literally makes my heart burst with joy - when others feel stuck in a job that they cannot bear. Sometimes this work does feel indulgent, luxurious, joyful and fulfilling. And then sometimes it is hard, overwhelming and utterly exhausting.
Doing something that makes you feel amazing can sometimes feel selfish. But that doesn't mean we don't deserve it.
The google definition of selfish is... lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure.
Other words that google relates to the word selfish include self-obsessed, self-centred, self-seeking, self-serving, inward-looking, introverted and self loving.
And actually... I will hold my hand up and say that yes... I do fit some of those words.
I am inward looking - because I do want to work on myself - but the reason I do that is so that I can feel confident, happy and content which makes me a far more pleasant person to be around. Is that really selfish?
I am introverted. I have learned to like and even love my own company, often choosing alone time instead of socialising with others - even when they want to spend time with me. I do put myself first and say no to things that I don't want to do. I didn't used to and it lead me to have panic attacks, chronic stress and burnout. I have to be introverted at times for my own protection. Is that selfish behaviour?
Self loving... well I wouldn't say I have this nailed all the time - but I certainly aspire to love myself. Is it so bad to want to like and love oneself? Does this make me a bad person? If more people allowed themselves to truly fall in love with themselves - then I am pretty sure this world would be a slightly kinder place. This one I definitely disagree with. Self love is not selfish.
I have behaved in selfish ways. I have put myself first. And yes. Some may say that starting again in my business has been for my own personal pleasure and for my own good. Equally, I am proud to say that in doing 'this work' I have also been able to serve and support others in ways I never could before.
Does that make me selfish?
No I didn't have lots of savings ready to bail me out when things got tough over the past eighteen months - and yes there have been seriously challenging times financially and emotionally. But, I was never 'not' going to make this transition - even if people had begged me not to. I accept that I put additional pressure on people I love - without really considering the effect it might have on our relationship. I did think of myself a lot. I did put my needs before anyone else. That probably does make me selfish. Perhaps I have to make peace with that.
But let me tell you this...
I believe it would have been more harmful - not only to myself, but also to people I love - to continue in the way I had been. To stay lost. To stay disconnected from joy and the things that lit me up. To stay flat and empty and numb.
I believe it would have been more toxic to the people around me if I hadn't made the time to do the inner work, the personal development, the journaling, the healing, the processing in order to begin to unravel many of the things that brought so much discontentment to my life.
I had to be selfish to survive.
I had to put myself and my needs at the top of the priority list because without doing that, I would have become more bitter, more resentful, more angry, stuck and frustrated, more overwhelmed, more anxious and more out of alignment in my work and personal life. And that simply was not an option for me anymore.
Perhaps it isn't as simple as being selfish or not. Perhaps we have to behave in a selfish way at times, without that making us a selfish person. For the majority of us, our nature is not to be selfish - it is more often than not the exact opposite - hence why the inner turmoil arises when we put ourselves at the top of the priority list. If you are consciously selfish with a good intention - does that make it OK?
Some may consider me to be a super bitch when I say... do what you need to do to live a life that fills you up. A life full of purpose and passion. Make decisions for yourself. Choose to do things that benefit you and only you at times.
If that makes me selfish, then so be it. Maybe I need to own that word a little more?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you battle with this word too? Have you been called selfish before? How do you define the word selfish? Please comment below or send me an email so we can continue the conversation.