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What Being Selfish Taught Me About Myself and Why It’s Okay

What Being Selfish Taught Me About Myself and Why It’s Okay

No one likes to admit selfishness. It means you are concerned only with your personal profit and pleasure. Your actions and decisions are guided by how they will best serve you. The ability to put yourself in the shoes of another person is difficult. It is easy to lose sight of compassion.

This was my truth for a number of years. My relationships and my actions were all about me—how I could get what I wanted and needed from another person, how I could manipulate a situation to make me feel better about myself, and how I could make sure that I was able to control the outcome.

The reality is that the selfishness is still there. My mind still goes to that place of fear and self-centeredness. Now, I have the tools and awareness to act opposite and embrace compassion and being loving to others and in turn, to myself.

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As an active addict for a number of years, I never looked at myself as selfish. In fact, I always assumed I was the victim. I thought, if others could experience the pain and discomfort I felt within, they would need to disconnect, numb out, and not show up for the people and places they cared about the most.

At the root of this were low feelings of self, deep insecurity, and fear.

This manifested itself in removing me from reality. I cared only about myself and what I was going to gain from other people, places, and things.

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When the awareness of this selfishness was brought to life, I began to see the selfishness for what it really is—fear, fear of not getting what I want or fear of losing something I already have.

Understanding my selfishness taught me that it’s time to embrace my fear. It awakened me in my life and brought about a newfound sense of presence.

Here are some tools for embracing fear and selfishness.

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1. Look at your relationships.

Are these relationships ones that are only self-serving to you? Or do you feel an equal sense of love and gratitude? Ultimately, the most fulfilling relationships are those where you equally receive and give.

2. Understand the motive behind your actions.

Are the actions that you take focused around how you will feel better and benefit most? Are you searching for instant gratification? Take a step back and connect with love and purpose. That is the true and most fulfilling motive.

3. Be compassionate to the selfish part of yourself.

Although I wasn’t aware of this selfishness for a long period of time, I still see its presence. It gives an illusion of control and serves many of us to ease sadness or fear. So be compassionate and loving to this part of yourself. Nurture it like you would nurture a small child.

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4. There is beauty in imperfections.

We are all human. We all have flaws. It’s just a matter of your perception of these flaws. If it means you always have a desire to gain something, start giving more. And give more with no expectation. It is truly by self-forgetting that your find yourself.

5. Fear is an illusion.

Fear lives in the baggage we carry from the past or the anxiety about the future. It takes us out of the present moment and leads to a lot of pain and discomfort. Fear is nothing more than false evidence appearing real. As long as we stay in the moment and connect with what is, we can tap into the infinite sources of wisdom we harness within. It is there; it is just a matter of bringing the beauty to life.

Featured photo credit: picjumbo via picjumbo.com

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Last Updated on July 3, 2020

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life

In today’s world, true peace must come from within us and our own actions. Here are 30 small things you can do on a regular basis to increase your overall sense of harmony, peace, and well-being:

1. Don’t go to every fight you’re invited to

Particularly when you’re around those who thrive on chaos, be willing to decline the invitation to join in on the drama.

2. Focus on your breath

Throughout the day, stop to take a few deep breaths. Keep stress at bay with techniques such as “square breathing.” Breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, then out for four counts, and hold again for four counts. Repeat this cycle four times.

3. Get organized and purge old items

A cluttered space often creates a cluttered spirit. Take the time to get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year and invest in organizational systems that help you sustain a level of neatness.

4. Stop yourself from being judgmental

Whenever you are tempted to have an opinion about someone else’s life, check your intentions. Judging others creates and promotes negative energy.

5. Say ‘thank you’ early and often

Start and end each day with an attitude of gratitude. Look for opportunities in your daily routine and interactions to express appreciation.

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6. Smile more

Even if you have to “fake it until you make it,” there are many scientific benefits of smiling and laughing. Also, pay attention to your facial expression when you are doing neutral activities such as driving and walking. Turn that frown upside down!

7. Don’t worry about the future

As difficult as this sounds, there is a direct connection between staying in the present and living a more peaceful life. You cannot control the future. As the old proverb goes, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.” Practice gently bringing your thoughts back to the present.

8. Eat real food

The closer the food is to the state from which it came from the earth, the better you will feel in eating it. Choose foods that grew from a plant over food that was made in a plant.

9. Choose being happy over being right

Too often, we sacrifice inner peace in order to make a point. It’s rarely worth it.

10. Keep technology out of the bedroom

Many studies, such as one conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have connected blue light of electronic devices before bed to adverse sleep and overall health. To make matters worse, many people report that they cannot resist checking email and social media when their cell phone is in reach of their bed, regardless of the time.

11. Make use of filtering features on social media

You may not want to “unfriend” someone completely, however you can choose whether you want to follow their posts and/or the sources of information that they share.

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12. Get comfortable with silence

When you picture someone who is the ultimate state of peace, typically they aren’t talking.

13. Listen to understand, not to respond

So often in conversations, we use our ears to give us cues about when it is our turn to say what we want to say. Practice active listening, ask questions, process, then speak.

14. Put your troubles in a bubble

Whenever you start to feel anxious, visualize the situation being wrapped in a bubble and then picture that sphere floating away.

15. Speak more slowly

Often a lack of peace manifests itself in fast or clipped speech. Take a breath, slow down, and let your thoughtful consideration drive your words.

16. Don’t procrastinate

Nothing adds stress to our lives like waiting until the last minute.

17. Buy a coloring book

Mandala coloring books for adults are becoming more popular because of their connection to creating inner peace.

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18. Prioritize yourself

You are the only person who you are guaranteed to live with 24 hours a day for the rest of your life.

19. Forgive others

Holding a grudge is hurting you exponentially more than anyone else. Let it go.

20. Check your expectations

Presumption often leads to drama. Remember the old saying, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.”

21. Engage in active play

Let your inner child come out and have some fun. Jump, dance, play, and pretend!

22. Stop criticizing yourself

The world is a hard enough place with more than enough critics. Your life is not served well by being one of them.

23. Focus your energy and attention on what you want

Thoughts, words, and actions all create energy. Energy attracts like energy. Put out what you want to get back.

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24. Assign yourself “complaint free” days.

Make a conscious decision not to complain about anything for a whole day. It might be harder than you think and the awareness will stick with you.

25. Surround yourself with people you truly enjoy being in the company of

Personalities tend to be contagious, and not everyone’s is worth catching. Be judicious in your choices.

26. Manage your money

Financial concerns rank top on the list of what causes people stress. Take the time each month to do a budget, calculate what you actually spend and sanity check that against the money you have coming in.

27. Stop trying to control everything

Not only is your inner control freak sabotaging your sense of peace, it is also likely getting in the way of external relationships as well.

28. Practice affirmations

Repeat positive phrases that depict the life and qualities you want to attract. It may not come naturally to you, but it works.

29. Get up before sunrise

Personally witnessing the dawn brings a unique sense of awe and appreciation for life.

30. Be yourself

Nothing creates more inner discord than trying to be something other than who we really are. Authenticity breeds happiness.

Featured photo credit: man watching sunrise via stokpic.com

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