Self-less, Selfish and "For Self"
"Selfishness is not living as one wishes, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live"
As a therapist, I have heard many say that taking care of oneself feels selfish. We are often taught to put others first, to put one's own needs and desires ahead of others first, to put one's own needs and desires last, and to only receive whatever remnants of time and care that may be left after serving everyone else. However, I have also witnessed many who enter my office feeling completely depleted by their own giving, unfulfilled by their roles, and resentful that their own needs have been unmet, often by those whom they love and serve most.
Part of taking care of yourself is to truly know your own needs. In order to do so, you must know the difference between being self-less, selfish and "for self".
Selflessness generally means that a person exhibits no concern for oneself, while selfishness pertains to a concern primarily only for oneself. To many, there is no in-between. However there is an in-between. "For self" provides the middle ground between the two and is a much deeper understanding of what one need as they strive for balance, fulfillment and radiant health.
I look at self care as exercising the personal and deep knowledge of what one needs and desires and the subsequent striving to create a life that provides for and sustains these. Although some may think that fulfilling one's own needs and desires is a selfish task, self care, in fact, is a process of maintaining and restoring oneself so that we can all working unison to provide for the needs and desires of one another. Caring for self helps you also care for all others. Self-care is not a selfish act, in fact, quite the contrary.
Some questions to leave you with:
What do you do "for self"? What do you do to care of you? If you can't think of anything, where can you start?
Are you too selfless and burning out?
Are there things you used to do for yourself but haven't done them in a long time? What are they?
Explore the idea of bringing a little self care into your life and see how your life can improve!
The Art of Alignment
The definition of alignment is to "line up" or "to have proper positioning of parts". Although many think of aligning "things" such as car tires or game pieces on a board, perhaps the most important alignment is that which we have with our selves and our soul.
When our lives are out of alignment, we can't help but feel out of sorts, uncomfortable, and just plain bad in one way or another. Many people engage in whatever unhealthy behaviors they can to avoid these feelings rather than step back to take a look of what is causing the discomfort to begin with and fix the problem itself. We may not immediately know what it is that is causing our misalignment, but most of us experience that sense that either something is not quite right or, in some cases, that something feels completely out of whack. This may come from a variety of experiences in life, caused by ourselves, others, and even seemingly random situations, but it is up to us assess the problem and get our lives back in line with our interests and needs. This constant process of alignment and re-alignment is key for our optimal health and life balance to our evolution.
An example is a screen door. Many of has have had an experience with a patio screen door that runs on a narrow track to slide it open and shut. When the door is properly set on the track, the door glides quite easily and there is very little effort expended in opening or closing the door. But when the door is off track-or out of alignment- we struggle to move the door one way or the other. More energy is expended in the movement and we often react to our inconvenience.
Life is much the same. When one or more aspects of our life are unbalanced or out of alignment, we feel it on a deep level. The more we try to ignore this feeling, the more it builds and tries to get our attention. This feeling of misalignment is simply a cue that our lives need some sort of attention and that we need to expend some effort in getting ourselves back on track so that we can feel at ease that comes along with it.
Although life presents many challenges to becoming and staying aligned, it is our conscious effort in doing so that allows us to grow and evolve. In constantly working to put the parts of our lives properly into place, we set the stage for not only our ultimate life balance and optimal health, but also for expanded awareness of how we can best grow.
I will leave you with a couple questions:
1. What is out of alignment in your life?
2. How could your life benefit from getting your life aligned and back in balance?
3. What are you willing to do to align with you?