Most people don't equate selfishness with anything positive. They see it as gluttonous. Yet, if we were all a bit more selfish, we would all be happier, stronger, and more helpful.
Personally, I'm a life coach and am currently studying at the International School of Human Design to be a certified Human Design Analyst. It is through my study and personal experience that I learned the importance of tapping into my own selfishness on the path toward enlightenment.
1. Nurture yourself.
We've all heard the rhetoric: Pampering is indulgent. Help others before you help yourself. We only have what we give.
Unfortunately, these expressions are not soul-healing.
Defining yourself by what you give instead of who you are means that your own health, body and mind suffer. I've seen too many men and women gain risky amounts of weight or stop seeing their own families in the name of helping others
The truth is that you stop helping others when you stop helping yourself. Nurturing starts with you, and you can send a more powerful message to those you help when you pamper yourself as well.
Action: Schedule at least two hours a day to do something that you love. Read a good mystery novel. Go for a walk. Call a friend. Go to bed early. Meet up with friends and laugh.
2. Wait for the ask.
Too often we jump in and start helping a friend, co-worker or family member before they've even asked. Then we get burned when they don't take our advice. It hurts. We've invested time, energy and sometimes money to help.
It's important to set clear boundaries. Wait until someone asks for your help. Then, slow down. Tell them you need to think about it. You want to give yourself time to clarify what you will and won't do.
Setting boundaries allows you to truly help them, not just enable them. Ask yourself: Do you have the time, energy and resources to help? Is it safe for you and your family? Or, is there someone I can recommend?
Action: Identify one place in your life where you tend to jump in too quickly. At work? In email? With a certain friend? Then, outline new, clear boundaries and ask a friend to hold you accountable.
3. Stop pushing through.
Powerful slogans have been built around pushing through the pain, carrying on, and getting back out there. To take a sick day at work, you often have to be on your deathbed.
But there's nothing helpful or enlightened about pushing through or going to work sick. You risk infecting others, and the quality of everything you do suffers.
Ignoring your body or your mind (sometimes we all need a mental health day) drains you of your spark and vigor. When you're happy, your energy automatically lifts those around you, and when you're not, the opposite is also true.
Action: Journal. Take 15 minutes a day to write about how you are feeling physically and mentally. The act of writing it down will do two things. It will release negative or low energy and it will give you personal insight on the state of your health.
4. Do what you love.
Do you dislike what you're doing? This can happen to the most soul-connected of us. Sometimes the job isn't what we expected, or the people we work with nitpick. Maybe it's the schedule or the nature of the work.
Whatever the reason, don't stay because the prospect of something new feels scary, or looks like a lot of work, or is completely unknown.
When you stay at a job that you hate, you risk your health. Trust me, I've been there. In one job, I spent so much time at the doctor's office that I was on a first-name basis with my physician.
Doing what you love raises your own energy and it in turn raises the energy of all of those around you. You ultimately help more people by helping yourself.
Action: Write down three things you love to do. Research how you can get involved in at least one of them, then take action.
5. Collaborate with others.
Being the hero or the martyr may look like fun, but it's lonely, stressful work.
Instead, pull together a team. You can affect greater change when you work with a group of like-minded people. Even better, a team can carry on the mission of your work while you take a ME-day.
Action: Write down the name of one person you can collaborate with on a project. Call them and set up a time to chat.
How are you tapping into your enlightened selfishness? Which of these five tips will you enjoy next?