Do you feel selfish when you do something for yourself?
It is a common complaint that I hear regularly from my clients that they feel selfish (or guilty) when they exercise some self love, so you are not alone with your nodding and agreement.
The dictionary definition describes it as: (of a person, action, or motive) lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one’s own personal profit or pleasure.
See, I think that this is incorrect when it comes to showing yourself some self love and compassion is that you are not ‘lacking consideration for other people’.
So, are you really being selfish by taking time for yourself?
My reasoning is that if you don’t take care of yourself, then you can’t care for others in the way that would be suiting for you and for them.
I used to feel that if I was to take time for myself rather than helping people or meeting their expectations then I was being selfish and I should concentrate on others instead. I found myself in a spiraling mess when this characteristic and belief came to a head in my last job and I was working to please everyone, to keep the peace and positive vibe whilst also getting on with my work and battling the ‘yes person’ in me that kept taking on my colleagues’ work to keep them happy.
I felt like utter crap.
I couldn’t help myself, let alone fathom looking out for anyone else.
I was crushed, bruised and broken. (not literally, but inside!)
And this was the wake up call that reminded me about my own self care. About taking time for myself without the feelings of guilt or of being selfish.
I took some time off!
I gave myself the space to find who I was again and used the time to do nothing. To step away from anything and everything that was making me feel stressed and crushed. I had baths at 12:30 in the day, I meditated, I did yoga, I went out for walks and ate chocolate. I played games all day (namely Plants Vs Zombies) and searched for things on the internet. I bought myself a new watch and treated myself to flowers.
I did EVERYTHING that would usually make me feel selfish for doing (especially as my boyfriend was slogging away at work) but I really NEEDED it. I HAD to do it before I imploded through giving all my love and energy away.
What stops you from giving yourself permission to give yourself some care?
It may be that you need to set some boundaries in place in your home, like some you time where your partner looks after the kids or takes the dog out on a long walk. Or you need to find a space away from home where you can do the things that refresh your energy reserves and clear your mind.
Be honest with the people around you about what you are doing and why you need the space – they certainly can’t accuse you of being selfish when you have a really good reason! I think you will find that their reactions are suprisingly supportive and they encourage you to take more time for yourself.
Don’t let burnout be your wake up call. Take time now to plan your personal self love escape time and take action on making it happen.
What will you do to ensure you have some you time in your life?