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We live in a world where busy is the new state of being and time is a precious commodity. Every second of the day there are so many things demanding our attention, that we rarely make time for ourselves. This is compounded by society’s push to promote a busy lifestyle as the modern day ‘norm’. Our busyness is further ingrained through our human conditioning. That being, most of us have been  taught form an early age that it’s important to put others’ needs before our own. By the time we reach adulthood, this behaviour is both established and expected. I personally think this way of living, is unhealthy.

Let’s reconsider selfish?

In todays’ society, people who choose to direct their time and energy to themselves may well be accused of being ‘selfish’. However, what would you think if I suggested we applaud, rather than judge those who prioritise their personal well-being? Let’s face it, being selfless, doesn’t get you anywhere, other than exhausted and dissatisfied with life. To be honest, I would like to see more women adopt a ‘selfish’ approach to doing their lives.

If you’re wondering what I mean by selfish, here’s a positive and healthy definition. “Women should look after themselves first and foremost, in a way that’s not detrimental to anyone else. Whilst, retaining the ability to care for, love and give to others, as they see fit”. Looking after your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs isn’t selfish; it’s the responsible thing to do. So please, take some time to digest this concept to make up your own mind. One thing I can tell you though, doing this way of life been really healthy for me.

Making time for yourself is important

I’d like to talk a bit more about some ways to make time for you amongst the ‘busyness’. I think it’s perfectly fine to have a busy lifestyle. But in the ‘busyness’, there needs to be regular and quarantined time for you. This doesn’t happen by chance, its’ something that you will have to make a conscious effort to incorporate. Once you do, think about making it a ‘non-negotiable’.

In the context of our new definition of selfishness, you might also like to take a little time to reconsider, where you rank on your ‘priority’ list. If you aren’t at the top of the list, then it’s time to put yourself there. In a world where there are so many competing priorities, it’s more than ok to be ‘selfish’ for your own good. So why don’t you start prioritising yourself now? There’s nothing I like more then to have a hot bath with some essential oils and candles burning, dive under the waves at the beach on a hot Summer’s day or close myself off from the world and spend a day indulging myself. What will you do for yourself with your newfound me time.

You should always be your number one priority

Looking back on my life I realise I was never my top priority. I spent far too much time supporting others, over myself. This was my ‘norm’, for twenty something years. I seemed to be on call 24/7 for everyone else and 0/7 for me. It was exhausting. There were times when I was so frazzled and drained, that I could barely function at all. My life was full of so many responsibilities, so many demands, and such little time. The thought of doing anything for me didn’t even enter my mind. On the odd occasion when it did, I brushed it off as yet another responsibility that I was too busy for. I honestly didn’t have the mental or physical capacity, or desire, to take on anything else in my life.

Thinking about it now, I don’t have any regrets because those experiences taught me a lot about self-care and the value of self-worth. I’m sure there are some very busy women reading this that can relate to my experience.

By the time I hit my mid forties, my busy lifestyle was both emotionally and physically taxing. I didn’t sleep well, ate on the run, drank lots of coffee and rarely woke up fresh and ready to go. I got easily irritated and frustrated with people, and found it hard to focus on things. The more I had on my schedule, the pushier and more assertive I got. There were many times that I bounced around in order to simply standstill. My zest for life was diminishing and, I felt like the Iife was being sucked out of me. It was like life’s responsibilities were consuming me. I didn’t even have the drive to pursue the things that made me feel good, or at the very least gave me some sense of personal satisfaction. I felt trapped and uncomfortable in a world that had no regard for me. And, I craved the anticipation of looking forward to being immersed in experiences that made me feel alive and free. But, they never eventuated. By the time I hit 45, I realised that I had no real connection with me, and no real control over my life.

Over the next couple of years, I became even more dissatisfied, restless and unhappy. There was a strong undercurrent, pushing me to break out. But, where to? How could I possibly break away, when I was so entangled in a life ruled by responsibility? As time went by, the urge grew stronger and I knew it wasn’t going away anytime soon.

The inevitability of major change was drawing closer everyday. I remember trying to push down my internal discomfort, but it only culminated in external dissatisfaction and disdain for life. This was the time to step up and make some major readjustments to my life. So, I finally made a major decision. I was going to put myself on centre stage. No more self-sacrificing or martyrdom, my life going forward was going to be my own. In that moment, I made a commitment to myself. I was going to direct my courage, strength and determination in an attempt to be ‘selfish’ for my own good. So, I accepted the conditions and took my first step towards my new life.

Reassigning your life’s priorities works

My first move was to offload some of my less important accountabilities. So, I started by prioritising responsibilities. I used a ‘delegate’, ‘delete’ or ‘keep’ approach to filter out the commitments that no longer served me. I felt more than satisfied, when I realised I had more than halved my responsibilities.

Then, I got to work on reassigning my priorities. I put myself on top of the list and that also felt really good. And as time went by, I also got better at saying “No”. The more I practised, the less guilty I felt about not being in call for others, only myself. A sense of accomplishment washed over me as I began to reach a state of healthy selfishness.

There were a lot more changes, but we’ll talk about those at another time. Once I got into the swing of doing me, I couldn’t believe how much easier and more enjoyable my life became. This new way of doing things really resonated with me.

The old way of existing seems quite distant now. Today, my life is still busy, but the focus is on meeting my needs and everyday priorities. I’ve become very accustomed to this way of life, in fact I adore it. These days, my time, is spent on doing the things that bring me the most joy, pleasure and fulfilment. And if that makes me selfish, then I’ve reached my end goal,

One of the things we do well at FEEL, is to help women like you, refocus on yourself. So that you too, can become more ‘selfish’ with your life, in the best possible way.

 “I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival”

Audre Lorde