SELF-CENTERED DOES NOT MEAN SELFISH
May 19, 2020
Having spoken to countless women through my personal life, career and coaching practice, the biggest challenge I hear them say is “I have no time for myself”. They are so busy meeting everyone else’s needs and expectations, putting their partner, kids, employer, friends, parents, even their dog ahead of their own needs and wants, that they leave no fuel in the tank to look after themselves.
They try to overcome this with willpower, starting the new year off with good intentions, fitting in some exercise and healthy eating habits, leaving work at a reasonable time once or twice a week, booking in some “me” time, but eventually, it’s like an elastic band that’s been stretched to its maximum, and when you let go of the tension it snaps back to the way it was before.
They come up with all sorts of… let’s call them reasons, as to why this happens, but I believe it comes down to one simple reason… they have not yet discovered or embraced the belief that they are worth it!
When I ask them, “So what makes you happy?” they often reply… “I don’t even know anymore”. They have lost themselves in the busyness of life and find themselves stuck with this emptiness inside them, not knowing how to deal with it… so they stay stuck doing more of the same.
There is a block, something inside them, telling them “It’s selfish to put myself first”.
I say, it’s not selfish, it’s self-centred and they do NOT mean the same thing. According to Oxford, being Selfish is “lacking consideration for other people; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure.”
I think the term Self-centredness gets a bad rap.
Being Self-centred is not being Selfish. You can be caring and considerate of others AND keep “oneself and one's affairs”(Oxford) front of mind so you can consciously choose to respond in a way that takes care of you as well.
Self-centredness, in my mind, is made up of two parts.
- One part is being centred within yourself, knowing yourself deeply, what you stand for, defining and upholding your own personal boundaries, treating yourself with kindness and compassion and expecting others and teaching others, or re-teaching them in some cases, to treat you the way you want to be treated.
- The other part is giving yourself permission to let go of whatever thinking pattern was programmed into you to make you put yourself last on the list, and embrace wholeheartedly the self-belief that you also deserve to be at the front of your queue because YOU ARE WORTH IT!!!
This doesn’t mean stuff everybody else whilst you charge headfirst considering only gains for yourself, to the detriment of others. It means your needs and wants are just as important as others. You matter!
There have been some significant pivotal moments in my career and life where I have had this very conversation in my head as I was being pressured to make a decision or take an action that would yet again meet the needs and expectations of others ahead of what was best for me.
The turning point for me was when my internal chatter went something like this… “If I say ‘Yes’ to you one more time, it means I am saying ‘No’ to me… AGAIN!!!!”
It wasn’t about who I was saying “Yes” to. They were just trying to get their needs met. The significance of this was about saying “No” to me.
When I realised this, it was a game changer for me and my career and life truly transformed.
It is when we know and accept ourselves, and all the decisions we’ve made to get us to this point in our life, that we can begin to consciously choose to empower ourselves to grow and change in a way that serve us, and enables us to live the life we desire and deserve.
May you let your journey begin…