Many people think I am selfish when I tell them that I believe in putting myself first; but I don’t think that I am.
We all look at and assess different areas of our lives, prioritizing and investing into them what we believe we need to. Those priorities change over time, depending on what stage of life we are in, what experiences we have gone through, and what our current needs and wants are.
I divide my life in general categories as follows, in no particular order: Love, Family, Career, Money, Friends, and Health. Those are broad categories which encompass other subjects and areas lumped under these terms.
At least one of those categories, sometimes two, takes the lead in terms of priority in a person’s life. For example, it could be Career (and Money), whereby a person’s main focus is to advance and excel in what they do, and become successful. To another person, it could be family, so finding the right person to settle down with, get married to, and have children with could be at the top of their list, and so on and so forth.
When you read the list of categories I mentioned, did you think that there is anything missing? Yes, there is a missing part, and in my world, it is integral: Me.
If I were to illustrate how I look at the different areas of my life, it would look something like this:
I didn’t always think this way. Some categories had their own priorities at different stages of my life; Career, for example, was at the very top, with the other categories falling a good distance behind, but with time, experience, and “wake up calls” from my body, I learned that, although it is true that balance is essential, more importantly, I could not give my very best to any area of my life or to anyone or anything, if the “Me” part was not okay.
How or when is the “Me” part okay? I believe it differs from person to person, and is definitely interrelated to the other categories. It is a bit more difficult to explain, and a big part of it is a feeling as much as it is a state of mind, body, and spirit. To me, some of the things it includes is mental clarity, physical wellness, and spiritual contentment; but I would also describe it as being and following your true self, being able to realize life for what it is, accept it, and learn to deal with it fully.
And what is “life as it fully is?” Life was never meant to, and never will be, perfect. If it were, it would be so boring! Life is meant to have obstacles, challenges, tests, good times, bad times, unexplainable things, ugliness, beauty, bad people, good people, curve balls, rough patches, unfairness, karma, complexity, simplicity and things that make you stop for a frozen moment in time, breathe in deeply, and breathe out with a smile across your soul. Such is life, and once you learn to accept that, no matter how good or bad things are, contentment settles in and you start listening to life more and seeing things you never noticed before. I am not perfect at doing this, I do lose my path sometimes, but I try to remember this as much as possible because I realize that it is the truth; it is what it is.
So, if taking the time to take care of Me is selfish, if keeping in touch with my true self, ensuring that my mind, body and soul are grounded and content so I can give my utmost to everybody and everything else in my life is considered “selfish”, then so be it… I am proud to be “selfish” if that is what it is.