I’m done with the story that it’s selfish to take care of ourselves – to be the priority in our lives. I’m done with women feeling shame and guilt for resting when the house is untidy or there’s work to be done. I’m done with the idea that we must sacrifice all for the people around us, at a massive cost to our health and wellbeing.
In this episode I share why I hate the word ‘selfish’ and why you should banish it from your vocabulary!
Prefer to Read? Here’s the Transcript:
Hi everyone, I am thrilled to be back on the podcast. I did have a little bit of a break, and that’s okay. It actually is a great learning for the topic that we’re going to be discussing on today’s podcast. This isn’t going to be a super long podcast episode. Really, the message is very, very simple that I want to get across to you today, and that is that you’re not selfish.
You’re not selfish for doing what serves you. You’re not selfish for wanting what you want, so for example, missed a few weeks of the old podcast, just a few things happening around here. You know there was the whole lockdown thing and attempting to work amongst children being here 24/7. Then had to get them back into school, which was a bit tough for my youngest, but we’re there, we’re doing it.
Then we hit birthday season. I don’t know if you have it in your household, but the start of June is intense. My youngest birthday is on the 5th of June, my dad’s is on the 8th, he turned 70 this year and my other daughter is on the 15th. In 10 days we have three birthdays and because we could have a party, I thought, “Let’s give the girls each a little party.” It wasn’t anything extravagant, that’s for sure. I was keeping things pretty chilled, but it’s just intense. There’s early mornings, there’s presents, there’s all the preparation that has to be done. I’m sure that you know exactly what I’m talking about.
Over the last two weekends, there’s been three events each weekend, and I am not tuned up for this. I am still COVID chill about socialising. I’m tired, and in terms of work, we had the new round of Ready for Change kickoff, and all my energy and focus is on that. I’m running a mastermind retreat this weekend for the women who are in the breakthrough mastermind, which is for other online business owners. I’ve got to get my priorities in order. I’ve got to do what I can do, and I have to also be able to say no to non-essentials. I have to prioritise my own self-care. If you are a regular listener to the podcast and you did not get your weekly hit of conversations, then I’m so sorry. You know what, I’m sure you understand. I’m sure you understand that there was a little pause and I’m back.
We put so much pressure on ourselves sometimes to be all things to all people, and the person that we need to be doing that for most is ourselves. This topic of being selfish came up in a coaching call within the Ready for Change group. It’s like, how do you know that you’re not doing this for selfish reasons? It’s like, well, what is selfish? Really, if you want what you want, who made it selfish? Who made the rule that everyone else always comes first? What is selfish? Is it just not considering anybody else and moving forward in hurtful ways? I mean, I don’t know you, you define selfish.
I feel like there’s a whole generation of mothers and beyond. I mean, let’s face it, this is a generational thing. It’s been going on for a while, that we sacrifice ourselves, what we want, what we need in order for everyone else to have what they want and need and I get. Like I’ve got three little, three kids, I keep saying little, but now they’re six, eight and nine. When they were babies and relied on my body to grow them and then feed them and all sorts of things, and they’re really reliant. I get that you’ve got to feed the baby, but I was also very aware that what I needed, like keeping myself at some sort of equilibrium also mattered. That I would seek out ways to do that, even when I felt like I had absolutely no choice about anything at all. My days were derailed by, well, just all the toddler things and baby things.
I also feel with this selfish conversation, that sometimes it’s other people’s opinion of what is selfish. Or it’s us judging that if we make a decision and it benefits us, and someone else has to maybe step up or someone else has to sacrifice what they want to do. Like say, even in a weekend, maybe it’s a Sunday and maybe you want to go out and have lunch with your friends. That’s seen as selfish because someone else in your family might think, “This is where you need to be today,” but is it? Are we just used to defaulting to doing what other people expect of us or making their lives happier or easier? Then not honouring what it is that we feel really called to do, or what we really desire to do?
It’s not selfish to want to enjoy yourself, to trust yourself to make a decision that serves you and that other people will be okay. I mean, we’re so worried about making other people feel uncomfortable, aren’t we? I see this all the time in my groups. What if this decision makes someone else feel upset or angry? Or it’s disruptive for them for me to go back and study, or for me to take the reins and make a decision that will change where we live. Or for me to spend money on a day of daycare for the kids and I don’t even work, but I just need that break and that’s going to be a sacrifice, that’s money we could be spending elsewhere. We’re just so worried about how us having what we need is going to affect other people, that we just don’t do anything. We just stay stuck.
If this is you, I just really want to ask you, how long are you prepared to allow that to happen? Yes, I get most relationships is give and take, absolutely. I’m not talking about doing harm. I’m talking about you being honest with yourself and honouring yourself. Too many women that I deal with, that I coach, or that join the programmes aren’t even aware of what makes them happy, of what they might do if they had a choice to do something just for them.
We’ve completely lost touch as we’ve created lives that are lived for other people. Of course, it feels selfish to put ourselves on the agenda, to say, “Hey, I need this and hey, I’m going to prioritise the time that I need for this.” It’s so beyond what we’ve created for ourselves and our norm, and it’s also not the norm for the people around us. They get to be weird about stuff, which makes us then think, “Well, obviously I am selfish, so back in your box.” No, no, no.
I think sometimes we also want guarantees about, well, if I do do this, I mean, it’s got to workout. I remember one time, it’s really the only time we took some money out of savings so that I could join a mastermind group over in the US. I said to my husband, “I really want to do this. I feel like I want to work with this guy. I need to understand what I’m doing, or I don’t know what I’m doing. I want to give my people the best experience I can. I want to learn everything I can about… I’m hiring people now to work on the team, I’ve got no idea how to do what I’m doing. I just want to be around people who are really thriving,” but also knowing, he was very honest to saying, “I need a group of people who are really high vibe, I need it.”
It meant going over to the US potentially four times a year. Now, for the years that I was a part of this mastermind, I only actually went three times each year, which is still a lot. Well, it was for me at that stage and I thought, “Is this selfish?” My husband said, “Well, is there a guaranteed return on investment here? We’ll we know that we will make this savings back, like you’ll owe our savings this?” I was like, “Shivers. I don’t know. Shivers, how am I even going to judge that? I don’t know. It just feels like a really fun thing and I’m going to learn a lot,” but I had to talk in his language. He wanted ROI type language and I was like, “Okay, well, if the membership has this many members and I’ve learned ways in which to support a team…” I sort of started talking his language so it just made sense to him.
I wasn’t going to back down and have this be seen as something that I almost needed to justify in terms of ROI. I just really wanted to do it. I just knew it was going to be good for me, and of course it was, but I didn’t know the outcome. Yet I did it anyway, because it felt really right at that moment in time.
Usually when things do, they are. It makes other people uncomfortable though, for sure. I mean, how triggering is it to you when you see other people living their best life? When you see other people taking risks, making big changes, just owning what they want and really going for it, does that trigger you? If it does, it might mean that you need to be a little bit more selfish. It might mean that you need to put yourself on the agenda, give yourself some time and space to think about what you really want so that you can go for it.
It’s not selfish to do that. In fact, the world needs more women being in quotation marks, selfish. More women standing in their power saying, “Hey, I really want to do this. I don’t know why. Maybe it doesn’t make sense to you, but I just know. This is the knowing, I’m going to go for it.” Or just even for super, super simple things.
What our children, if you have them, we’ll witness by watching you go for it in whatever it is. Daily walks, asking for help, is it selfish to ask for help? It’s actually a beautiful thing for kids to see, less martyrdom, more collective energy. More putting your hand up to say, “I’m not feeling okay right now. I need some help here,” not selfish. A brilliant example to children who will find themselves in exactly the same position, and won’t be modelled just marching on, ignoring their needs. Your needs matter, they’re real.
What might it look and feel like for you to start honouring them? Get rid of the word selfish from your vocab. You doing you, you’ll still keep caring about those around you. You don’t get to drop all the balls, but you can honour yourself. You can honour your needs. Explore what this might mean, and always let me know if this resonates and how it helps. Go out there.
If you’re going to use the word selfish, then just be selfish. I much prefer to think of it as a woman standing in her power, knowing what she wants and needs and getting it, claiming it. You can, good luck. See you soon.
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