After my late husband passed away, I felt it was my duty to live out his dreams. It was so unfair he was no longer living and I thought it was the least I could do to honor him.
At one point, I remember thinking: Hey, who's going to live out my dreams when I die? But then I realized the answer: No one.
It hit me like a slap across the face. Wake up! You had better start living your dreams, because you never know how long you have. What are you waiting for?
The truth was, I didn't know what I was waiting for. My biggest fear had become my reality — why was I still so afraid to live?
So over the next few years I kept putting one foot in front of the other in the direction of my dreams. Sometimes it was a baby step, other times it was a big leap.
As I delved into starting my own business and made joy a priority in both my personal and professional life, it pissed some people off. They accused me of being selfish.
And it hurt.
Recently, when I went to an energy healer, I asked for his help.
"I don't want to be hurt anymore when people call me selfish."
"Why would you be hurt?" he asked. "You should say thank you."
He went on. "Let's break down the word. Self. Ish. Ish means 'more of,' so being selfish is being more of yourself. Don't you want to be more of yourself?"
"Now let's look at selfless. Less means less of yourself. Do you want to be less of yourself?"
"Well, no. No, I don't."
"So, really you should be thanking people for calling you selfish."
I smiled. He was right.
The next time someone calls you selfish, say "thank you" and remember these three things:
1. You are here to live out your dreams. You can take being called selfish as proof you are on the right path.
2. You can only effectively help others when your own needs are met first. When you are attending to your own needs, desires and goals in life, it's easier to help others on their own path (this is why airlines insist that you put on your own oxygen mask in the plane first, before assisting others).
3. You will experience greater fulfillment and joy. Because you are living life on your terms, following your dreams and doing what you love, you are going to feel more fulfilled. And chances are you'll feel a lot less anger and jealously toward others, as well as a whole lot more joy.